KOCHI: The Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) has appointed UAE-based Malayali businessman Adeeb Ahamed as a trustee on its board, seven months ahead of the fifth edition of India’s biggest contemporary art festival.Ahamed, a native of Thrissur, runs the LuLu Financial Group in Abu Dhabi and is also the managing director of its retail arm Tablez and hospitality investment arm Twenty14 Holdings. KBF founder president Bose Krishnamachari, while announcing the appointment, spoke of Ahamed’s “active interest in art and culture”, adding he “brings to the table a plethora of ideas and experience as a global businessman”.
“It is important that young business leaders are part of the cultural landscape. We’re glad that we could bring on board someone like Ahamed, who shares our vision as an institution,” added Bose Krishnamachari.The new trustee described KMB as “a great cultural ambassador for Kerala” down the years. “It has extended beyond just art and has given rise to multiple opportunities in the services sector,” he noted.
Ahamed is an influential thought leader and philanthropist with an educational background from Switzerland and the UK. He serves on the senior advisory board of the World Economic Forum’s South Asia Regional Strategy Group that is the highest decision-making body for the global body’s activities in the subcontinent.
Also, Ahamed actively contributes to education and elderly welfare projects. With business operations spanning across 14 countries, he is consistently ranked among the ‘Top 100 Indian Leaders in the Arab World’ by Forbes Middle East.
Art as a healer
With Covid-19 dampening the global economy and people’s morale, the KMB’s theme for the upcoming edition can lead to sustainable dialogue on the role of art in times of human crisis, said Krishnamachari. “The ideas of the resilience of the human imagination and of the capacities of art in times of crisis are part of curator Shubigi Rao’s conceptual frame for the 2020 Biennale (beginning December 12). This year’s KMB can become a responsive instance of that spirit,” he added. Echoing the thought, Ahamed said Kerala merited “something as extraordinary as the Biennale” to overcome the Covid-19 blues and bring the focus back on the travel economy.