THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: kochi-Muziris Biennale brings art aficionados from around the world to Kochi. But, an exhibition titled Having Been Is No Way To Be at Mattancherry-based Gallery 27 proves that us Malayalis are in dire need of introspection. “Gallery spaces look nice, but on the other hand, Keralites are still not ready to invest in art and support practitioners. This is because of a lack of awareness about the value of art,” says Geetha Sai, who is curating an exhibition for the first time along with her husband Sathya Sai. The two have been gallerists for over a decade.
To familiarise homegrown talent with the crowd at large, they’ve picked out nine artists from various corners of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kerala. We visit the gallery to see the showcase by Amit Harit, Biplab Sarkar, Mahesh Jagtap, Manoj Vyloor, Poushali Das, Rakesh Kumar, Sadanandan P K, Sudheesh K and Swathi N.
“One concern for international collectors is how steady the evolution of an artist is. So, we’re choosing people who’ve dedicatedly pursued their form of expression,” says Sathya, about the exhibition which does not follow a theme. This criterion means they have a vibrant collective spanning two generations, all of whom practise various forms like painting and photography. Even the paintings use multiple mediums like acrylic, charcoal, and also tempera.
Multiple exhibits have historical narratives including two detailed paintings by 2016 Biennale-showcased Sadanandan P K, and Sudheesh, who has a series titled Island Cherala. Poushali Das’ interesting medium of wasli paper differentiates her, while Amit Harit and Mahesh Jagtap have rather abstract works. The sketch from youngster Swathi shows her eye for detail and Manoj Vyloor’s extensive installation, Home Wreck, explores the disastrous aspects of war.
At Gallery 27, Mattancherry Till January 20