The second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale opened with typical Indian energy, with drums and enthusiasm. Fort Kochi and Mattanchery streets were alive with painters, working solo or in teams, adding finishing touches to murals and other installations.
Riyas Komus’ words resonate well with the RAXA Collective ethos of Community, Collaboration and Conservation.
The story of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an artist initiative which derived its confidence from artists, art lovers, cultural organisations and the people of Kochi, is the story of taking on challenges to create an alternate space, of sacrifices and solidarity to build an art ecosystem for the new emerging India. Conducting the biennale in Kerala — a state that had the world’s second democratically elected communist government — complimented by the history of the land in the context of art was an organic achievement of its legacy. Our mission is to draw energy from the rich tradition of public action and political engagement in Kerala and build a new aesthetic that integrates both the past and the present….
There is now a new confidence borne out of a resident community that has travelled the world and has been exposed to other cultures. Kochi, in fact, is the crucible where Malayali cosmopolitanism is being re-imagined. It is in this backdrop of an earnest enquiry that we propose to make Kochi the repository of emerging ideas and ideologies as KMB seeks to reflect the new confidence of Indian people who are slowly, but surely, building a new society that aims to be liberal, inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.
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