Gearing up for its third edition next month, the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB) continues to bank on generosity of locals and patrons to keep the wheels moving for what is touted to be the biggest showcase of contemporary art in South Asia.
Beginning December 12 in Kochi, India's only biennale will this year see 97 artists from 36 countries creating artworks spread over 12 venues. It is being brought together by Sudarshan Shetty, whose curatorial vision extends beyond visual art to include poets, writers, theatre artistes and musicians.
"It is amazing to see how the locals have adopted the biennale. The other day in Kochi a rickshaw guy offered to assist me in case I needed any help with reaching out to South American artists.
"He claimed to have knowledge about them. This kind of thing is quite unthinkable in other parts of the country," Shetty said.
Accompanied by Bose Krishnamachari who had co-founded the biennale in December 2012, Shetty was recently in the city to participate in a programme to talk about the upcoming festival that is scheduled to run its course for 108 days till March 29, 2017.
The discussion organised by the Young Ficci Ladies Organisation was hosted by Saffronart Gallery here.
"In the first edition, 63 per cent of the funding to KMB was given by the state government and the rest by patrons. Initially, there were many questions but once the biennale began people opened up their wallets," said Krishnamachari, who is an accomplished painter.
The current demonetisation and withdrawal of most circulated currency notes have made it difficult to pay carpenters, electricians, masons, plumbers and other support staff but work continues to go on, according to Krishnamachari.
"We have had some issues with the schedule of the artists and support staff who are working to get things ready before the biennale begins, but work has not come to a complete halt. We are working on paying them through cheques and online payments.
"We also have to look into returning the works when the biennale closes but the state government has promised to extend support," he said.
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