THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the aesthetics of Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2016 are in a nascent stage, its curator Sudarshan Shetty, is busy meeting musicians and dancers besides artists around the globe in his bid to shape up the concept of the grand Kerala event that has already gained international repute. The third chapter of India’s only biennale is 15 months away.
“I won’t make a mission statement at this stage, but I can tell you that it will be a even more ‘people’s biennale’ this time. The two editions of biennale we had so far were outstanding in their conceptualisation and execution. It will be tough to raise the bar further. But it’s interesting-and that’s what is expected of me,” the middle-aged Mumbaikar said about his perception on KMB-3, slated to begin on December 12 next year.
“Tradition is not like water in a stagnant pool, but it is like a waterfall. This is the famous statement made by Ratan Thiyam. I am greatly inspired by it and it will be reflected in my curation,” he added. It is with this view that Shetty has been touring the world as the artistic director of the third KMB. “I am just back from travels across Europe. Shortly, I will be leaving for the East…to China and Japan,” said the Mangalore-born contemporary artist, famously known for his enigmatic sculptural installations.
Pertinently, Shetty had himself been a participant in the debut KMB of 2012-thus having known the pulse and seen the growth of the pioneering festival since its start. “See, there won’t be a huge rise in the venues at the biennale. Nor can a notable jump in the number of artists be counted as a defining scale of eminence. I can still say that street art and students’ participation will be one of the focal features of the upcoming edition,” pointed out the 54-year-old alumnus of Mumbai’s prestigious Sir JJ School of Art.
Shetty was in New Delhi at a get-together of the art fraternity across the country, last weekend. A ‘Meet The Curator’ function convened by Kochi Biennale Foundation(KBF) saw him being formally introduced to a crowd of select invitees that included the Whos Who of Indian art, culture, literature, cinema and academics, besides a fair sprinkling of representatives from various embassies and consulates.
KBF founders Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, speaking at the function, recounted the history of their struggles ahead of the first KMB where the two Mumbaikar-Malayalis were co-curators.
Artists Jitish Kallat, who was also the artistic director of KMB-2, art patron Kiran
Nadar, top bureaucrats Amitabh Kant and Venu Vasudevan, veteran visual artists Gulammohammed Sheikh, Vivan Sundaram and Subodh Gupta and KBF trustee Sunil V were the other speakers.