Kochi: Garnering the art market’s support for the forthcoming Kochi-Muziris Biennale, well-known patron and collector Shalini Passi co-hosted a dinner meet at her residence last week, in collaboration with the Kochi Biennale Foundation. With less than 100 days to go for the Biennale to begin, the KBF team also announced the appointment of art patron and philanthropist Feroze Gujral, co-founder of The Gujral Foundation, as a trustee of the Kochi Biennale Foundation.
Joined by a diverse group of contemporary artists, leading gallerists and collectors, foreign dignitaries, art critics and connoisseurs, the event served as an important platform for the Kochi Biennale team, including curator Anita Dube, to share their vision for South Asia’s biggest contemporary art event.
Anita Dube, one of India’s most versatile and provocative artists, presented her approach to curating a large-scale project like the Biennale, which will showcase art practices of more than 80 practitioners from around the world.
Elaborating on this year’s theme of the Biennale—‘Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life’—she said: “My earliest intuitive vision for this edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale to explore the possibilities for a non-alienated life has remained with me. The need to listen, think, and learn with each other, particularly voices from the margins—of women, of the queer community, the oppressed castes, the whispers and signs of nature—with a spirit of freedom and comradeship is vital. In both the exhibition and the carefully designed interactive spaces, I hope the incredible range of exhibiting artists and visitors will become active participants and co-producers of the Biennale as a shared knowledge laboratory.”
Speaking about the Biennale’s association with Gujral as one of its oldest patrons, Kochi Biennale Foundation Joint Secretary, Sunil V, said: “We are very happy to have the support of Feroze Gujral of the Gujral Foundation as the brand new trustee of the Kochi Biennale Foundation. As part of their commitment to nurturing Indian contemporary art, Ms. Gujral’s organisation has offered to let us use the premises of their heritage property in Kochi, the Aspinwall House, to conduct the Biennale since the beginning of our show in 2012. Over the years, Aspinwall House has acquired the reputation of being a primary venue of the Biennale, hosting numerous artist-led projects.”
Coming close on the heels of the flood recovery efforts in Kerala, the Kochi Biennale Foundation will also lay out plans to aid flood relief funds to support the state’s rehabilitation efforts.
Bose Krishnamachari, President of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, said: “After the floods that devastated much of the state, it has been deeply moving to see the people of Kerala, but also the country, come together and act. Sharing and making of art is an essential part of rebuilding and healing, and we hope Kochi Biennale Foundation can aid in that effort in Kerala. This edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale promises to be the most socially and politically significant yet. We are so happy to share a glimpse of that project with you today, and convey the potential for change that art can hold.”
Passi, who has been collecting art for nearly two decades, also announced the launch of Shalini Passi Foundation for the Arts, and an art website, My Art Shalini (MASH), with the objective of widening access to different forms of arts. The event was organised at her sprawling Central Delhi residence, which is home to an eclectic collection of Indian and international artworks.
“This is a memorable occasion for me as I launch my foundation, the Shalini Passi Art Foundation, and MASH (My Art Shalini), which is my blog for the younger generation along with honouring and supporting the upcoming 4th edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. I am excited that through the foundation I will be able to play a significant role in developing the much-needed ecosystem for arts and support, and a new generation of artists and cultural practitioners, not only in the arts but in design, architecture, crafts, and fashion,” Passi said, who is one of the key patrons of the Biennale.
The fourth edition of the Biennale, popularly known as the ‘People’s Biennale’, will be held at multiple locations in Kochi from December 12, 2018 to March 29, 2019.