The contagion hasn’t completely given an ‘artache’ to Kochi-Muziris Biennale—decidedly one of South Asia’s finest arts initiatives. Curated by Singapore-based artist Shubigi Rao, it was set to start from December 12 but has been pushed to November 1, 2021. Cocking a snook at the virus is the fourth edition of the Students’ Biennale, which will go online in February, 2021.
Its various programmes target college students, young artists, school children and the general public. Bose Krishnamachari, Biennale Director, explained in a recent interview, “All components of the exhibition, including communication between students and curators, and those working towards the display process will be carried out online. In addition to the exhibition platform, a parallel programme of workshops will also be organised for participants and other students.”Art education is a principal aim of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, founded in 2010 by Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu.
The Students’ Biennale is one of its mainstays. Fine arts students in colleges across India are the participants whose chosen works are on display. The programmes have synergy with the Foundation’s talks, workshops and video programmes. Students get a chance to interact and learn from some of the most popular artists of India. The Foundation has now decided that the exhibition will not be limited to digital art. This edition will be organised in collaboration with Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art and with the support of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and HCL Foundation.
The previous Students’ Biennale saw a healthy participation of 112 fine art students chosen from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal—a version of art diplomacy for troubled times. Art is one of the earliest political vehicles with a liberal reform platform—last year’s Students’ Biennale was curated by a jury of six with awards and residency given to 11 young artists from Kashmir. This year, a five-member squad comprising Adip Dutta, Archana Hande, Manoj Vyloor, Suresh K Nair and Vasudha Thozhur will select the participating student artists.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale kicked off its very first edition in 2012 inspired by the eccentric genius of Ai Weiwei and Subodh Gupta. A platform for established artists, it is a nurturing ground for budding artists seeking to enter the global arena. The Students’ Biennale has been one of the main draws of the festival since its inception in 2014. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale wins a march or two over other art festivals in the way it democratises the platform and opens it up for artists of all hues.
The fifth edition—when it does happen next year—will have legendary Delhi-based artist Arpita Singh—known for her figurative and modernist oeuvre—rubbing shoulders with Bengaluru graphic artists Premnath Ayil and Anisha P known for their miniature curly haired dolls. Everyone is invited to this party. Apply on kochimuzirisbiennale.org
✥ Exhibition will go online from February 21
✥ Apply on kochimuzirisbiennale.org
✥ Application will be accepted till 5 pm, November 15
✥ BFA, MFA or students pursuing equivalent courses in India are eligible to apply
✥ The list of selected artworks will be announced on December 1
✥ Queries may be sent to email@example.com