Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 to imbibe spirit of inclusivity

anita-dube Anita Dube

'Possibilities for a non-alienated life', the theme of the fourth edition of Asia's biggest contemporary art festival, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), talks about inclusiveness. With just one month to the opening (on December 12), curator Anita Dube is all set to make it inclusive for more than 6 lakh expected visitors. She wants every visitor to be an active participant, not just a "consumer of culture", and show justice to the nickname of KMB—"the people's Biennale".

"The biennale will have exhibition space and a pavilion," said Dube at the Meet the Curator event held in Kochi on Friday. The exhibition space will feature 95 curated works of 135 artists from 31 countries. The pavilion will be a "democratic" space where every visitor can express their thoughts, ideas and arguments, making use of internet technology. "Everybody will be a curator, everyone can share in the pavilion," said Dube.

Dube added that she wants to show futurism—an artistic social movement with emphasis on speed technology, youth, violence and industries—that can come from Asia and the global south.

Coming from a family of doctors, Dube, who started her work life in art at the age of 30, is the first woman curator of the KMB. The artistic advisory committee of 9 artists selected her unanimously. She travelled to 32 countries to select works for the KMB. And, more than half the artists who will be featured this year, are women.

In the aftermath of the destructive floods in Kerala in August, there were worries whether the biennale would happen as scheduled. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale Foundation, however, decided to go ahead. "People wanted the biennale to happen. General positivity was down after the floods. The biennale will lift the spirit and enthusiasm," said Sunil V, secretary, KMB.

Bose Krishnamachari, president of KMB, announced that to help with rebuilding of Kerala post the devastating floods, the biennale will conduct a live auction of 50 artistic works on January 18, 2019. "We expect to donate Rs 5 crore towards Kerala's rebuilding through this auction," said Krishnamachari. British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor has done a special work for this auction.

The KMB also plans to recycle the pavilion conversation space and build 12 homes of 600 square feet area for those affected by the flood. Dube added that the extent of the catastrophe was communicated with the artists, too, and some of the artists responded positively to slightly modify their work to show solidarity with Kerala.