Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016 Inauguration

The Chief Minister, inaugurating KMB 2016, said it was important to develop Biennale further.Noting that the lack of a permanent venue for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) was a serious issue, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government would implement a project to provide a home to India’s only Biennale.

Speaking at the inauguration of the KMB’s third edition today, 12/12/16, at Parade Ground, Fort Kochi, the Chief Minister said that the Biennale had gained significant credibility in the international contemporary art world and the government was looking to develop it along the lines of the Venice Biennale.

“The ancient history of Kochi is marked with adventure and the idea to organise the Biennale here tells us that there is adventure in its present too. Just as the Biennale created history in Kochi, a permanent venue for the Biennale will also create history,” he said.“Already, the LDF government has allocated a sum of Rs 7.5 crore in its budget to organise the Biennale. This is the highest ever funding allotted to an art event by a state government in India,” Shri Vijayan said, pointing out that the concept for the Biennale was announced in 2010 – during the tenure of the previous Left government, which had sanctioned the first disbursement of funds towards the event’s operational expenses.

The Chief Minister termed the Biennale a gateway between Kerala and the world through which the diverse expressions of international art and culture move freely and are brought together under one umbrella. He also called Kochi the perfect place to host the Biennale owing to its rich cosmopolitan heritage and multi-layered cultural tapestry.

“Though the Biennale is primarily an art event, it has economic and social benefits too. It has energised the tourism sector. The statistics show that lakhs of cultural enthusiasts surged to Kochi from around the different corners of the world to view the first two editions. Both Kochi and Kerala benefit from this influx,” he said.

The inauguration ceremony also saw in attendance Honourable Minister for Tourism Shri Kadakampally Surendran and former Minister for Culture Shri M.A. Baby.“The Biennale has become a pilgrimage site for art lovers around the globe and it has become a space for artists from Kerala to interact with foreign artists,” Shri Surendran said. Kochi Mayor Smt. Soumini Jain was also present at the function as were Shri K.J. Maxy MLA and Shri John Fernandes. Also in attendance were Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Smt. Nalini Netto, Dr Venu V., Principal Secretary (Tourism) and Ernakulam District Collector Shri Mohammed Y. Safirulla K.

Lulu Group founder and Managing Director Padma Shri M.A. Yousuf Ali, a committed long-term patron of the Biennale, pledged Rs two crore to the next edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.KMB 2016 curator Sudarshan Shetty outlined his artistic vision for the Biennale. Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) President Bose Krishnamachari delivered the vote of thanks while KBF Secretary Riyas Komu made the welcome speech.

“In a time of ideological and cultural upheavals, the Biennale is an inspirational force. The stories that the KMB tells us instills a sense of pride in culture and stokes our creativity,” Komu said. KBF CEO Manju Sara Rajan was present as were a host of KBF Trustees and Patrons.

Prior to the inaugural function, a ‘chenda melam’ of 150 percussionists led by Padma Shri Peruvanam Kuttan Marar welcomed the dignitaries and public to the venue. Following the ceremony, there was a concert by noted singer Suman Sridhar and The Black Mamba.

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