“I will cherish those discussions about Biennale I had with auto drivers and restaurant workers in and around Fort Kochi. Their understanding about different work of arts exhibited in Biennale gave me interesting insights,” says Linda Jansen from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This statement by Linda narrates the popularity of the Biennale amongst basic classes as well as the anti-elitist moorings of the historical art festival in Kerala.
Linda was working with the famous Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam, for six years after her graduation. Having got exposed to the art works of international quality, Linda came to Kochi to participate in Biennale. “I was in Delhi when a friend told me about Kochi Biennale. I came to Kochi immediately and was moved by the beautiful celebration of the art. I wanted to associate with Biennale in some capacity and I approached the organisers. They suggested me to volunteer for the Biennale. As a volunteer, I’m meeting a large number of domestic and foreign visitors/participants,” she said.
“Some of the foreign visitors, who have participated in other Biennales told me that Kochi is indeed one of the best Biennale they have seen. The major blessing of Kochi Biennale is its location. The historical location stretched in the coastal terrain gives a special touch to the festival,” she said.
When asked about her favourite work, she is all praise for the work by Amar Kanwar. “Kanwar’s excellent work named ‘The Sovereign Forest’ where he initiates a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human right and ecology is outstanding. He touches profound subjects like compassion and sovereignty - and the determination of the self in a brilliant way using a big variety of forms, pamphlets, moving and still images, books and even seeds,” she explains.
She says that “there is a lot of energy here in India that needs to find its platform.” “This is the first Biennale in India and the challenge now is to continue what has been started. I look forward to see the second edition,” she continued.
Many other foreign visitors who spoke to ‘City Express’ also shared similar opinions about Biennale. “I came to Kerala to visit Biennale and the visit was meaningful,” says Alexander, a carpenter from Hamburg, Germany.
Silkee, his friend from Hamburg said that “curating of Kochi Biennale deserves special appreciation. The work by Vivan Sundaram wonderfully showcases the historical tradition of Kochi region.”
The Germans said most of the art works convey social and political messages. “This is very significant. Historically art works have contributed towards social change and Kochi Biennale has also joined the vibrant tradition,” they explained.