India’s First International Contemporary Art Festival

KochiMuziris Biennale 2012 to celebrate India’s rich cultural heritage and to showcase the best in international contemporary art

This year, India is set to host its first ever festival of international contemporary visual arts, the KochiMuziris Biennale – a notfor-profit enterprise that will take place in Kerala within the city of Kochi and Muziris. Cofounded by two of India’s leading artists, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, the Biennale hopes to celebrate India’s rich cultural heritage as well as to showcase the best in international contemporary art, presenting artworks throughout Kochi and Muziris in existing exhibition sites, public spaces, heritage buildings and other nontraditional venues.

KochiMuziris Biennale will be the largest contemporary public art event in the country, and is a first for India in terms of scale and ambition. To be held every other year, the project will showcase artwork created by some of the world’s best-known artists, both established and emerging. The exhibition will present a variety of mediums from film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art.

Alongside the exhibitions the Kochi Biennale Foundation will organise an extensive public programme of seminars, workshops and a comprehensive and farreaching educational programme. Its four aims in this respect are: to develop cultural and social awareness through education; to develop visual arts practices and theory in Kochi and India; to develop cultural tourism by attracting national and international visitors to the festival engaging with the local communities; and to become a catalyst for regeneration and urban development .

The official Declaration launch of the Biennale was held at Durbar Hall Ground, Kochi, on Thursday 17 February 2011, 6pm. The event was officially declared by the then Minister of Education and Culture Mr. M. A. Baby in the presence of ministers, senior government officials, senior artists, scholars, critics and the public. The launch was followed by a performance by the band Avial, and Panchari Melam by Padmashri Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, supported by 180 artists, in a live audiovisual percussion concert.

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