As the third edition of Kochi Muziris Biennale begins on Monday, the Kashi Art Gallery in Fort Kochi is ready with its two collateral projects to enthral art lovers. The first project — Artist; the Public Intellectual — displays art works by eight artists while the second one – Landscapes and Silence — comprises works by nine artists. The two projects displayed at the Town House in Fort Kochi intend to take art out of the gallery space and depict it as a means to connect with cultures, communities and to promote education.
The first project, which has artworks by Gigi Scaria, Margaret Lanzetta, Meydad Eliyahu, Paula Sengupta, Aditi Vinayakan, Aswathy Sivadas, Govind Kamath and Sarath Menon M.B, is curated by Tanya Abraham. “Through this project, I have attempted to portray the artist as a ‘free entity’ who is able to penetrate the density of things; the many layers of historical, social and political conditioning that can be peeled away or exposed (through art), to reveal the rawness associated with it,” says the curator. “The construction of the artist-individual in this sphere is a vital aspect to the manner in which the public is able to view things. Once this position is carved out in a vehement and distinct way, the position artists play as intellectuals aimed at public good becomes relevant,” she adds.
If Gigi exposes issues and difficulties women face in our society through his video installations, Margaret works with Indian saris. “My project will examine the language of pattern migration as manifested in contemporary saris,” says Margaret.
Meydad documents the migration history of Kochi Jews from Kerala to Israel through his works. Paul Sengupta has taken the nuances of the Tibetan community in exile as his subject for the collateral project.
The second project, curated by Wayne Baerwaldt and Tanya is an Indo-American one and captures the unique sense of silence found in rural spaces, which is disappearing rapidly. “In both Canada and India, we’re experiencing rapid changes in rural lifestyles. While attempting to understand the complex socio-economic interpretations of such changes, some artists are responding to the aesthetic qualities associated with them,” says Wayne.
The project has artworks by Terry Billings, Risa Horowitz, Gabriela Garcia-Luna, Sheila Spence, Paul Butler, Shubha Taparia, G.R. Iranna, K.K. Muhamad, and Sebin Joseph. “The four Indian artists in this exhibition bring a range of experiences and perspectives, to represent concepts of silence in diverse landscapes and situations,” says Tanya. Besides exhibitions, interactive programmes are also organised at the venue to spread the ideas among common men. The projects will be open till March 29, 2017.