KOCHI: Shattering the hopes of art aficionados and the tourism industry, the fifth edition of Kochi Muziris Biennale which was scheduled to commence from December 12 this year has been postponed to November 1, 2021, in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country, and the second spike in the cases in Kerala.
"We have decided to postpone the event as there will be huge difficulties in bringing the materials for installations to Kochi," said Bose Krishnamachari, president, Kochi Biennale Foundation. He added that the travel restrictions due to coronavirus have forced the Foundation to postpone the biennial event.
"Over the past few months, the Kochi Biennale Foundation has been discussing the COVID-19 situation with our stakeholders. With the pandemic showing no signs of abatement in India, the state of Kerala having slipped into a second spike of cases, prolonged travel restrictions, and generally unfavourable conditions on-ground, we have decided to move the opening of the Biennale to November 1, 2021. We expect that circumstances by then would be conducive for visitors, artists, staff, and others for a safe and complete Biennale gathering," an official statement here added.
Bony Thomas, treasurer, Kochi-Biennale Foundation, said KBF is postponing the much-anticipated event with a firm affirmation to organise it in a grand manner next year. "As it will attract over six lakh people over a period of three months, it is impossible to acquire government permission in the current circumstances. We have wait thus far to conduct the event as per the existing schedule and found it impractical to continue," he said.
In the interim, the Kochi Biennale Foundation and its programmes will continue to function. Thomas said that the Students Biennale will continue as per the schedule and will start the digital display from February 2021. "We have already completed a major part of the preparations and finalized our artists. Our curatorial group will lead the projection from February 21, 2021. Within a year, we are hoping that the country will regain normalcy and ensure a safe environment for artists, visitors and our volunteers.
The fourth edition of the Students' Biennale has been re-structured to take place online and the online programme for this has commenced under the leadership of five curator-mentors, viz. Adip Dutta, Archana Hande, Manoj Vyloor, Suresh K Nair, and Vasudha Thozhur. The Art By Children activities have also been adapted as a Learning at Home programme, with exercises that encourage children to engage creatively with our present circumstances. Our educational workshops for young practitioners have also moved online, including the graphic fiction workshop with Sarnath Banerjee, which is underway. Please stay tuned to our channels for further updates on our upcoming programmes and initiatives.
This year's Kochi Biennale titled was titled ‘In our veins flow ink and fire’ curated by artist Shubigi Rao was scheduled to conclude on April 10, 2021.