kochi muziris biennale india 2016

5 Reasons to visit the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

When it was time to celebrate New year’s, for the last three years, instead of saying ‘let’s party’ we started saying  ‘let’s travel’. This intention has been very rewarding and has inspired and energized us. So, in December 2016 when several ideas were being proposed, one evening Mahesh talked about the Kochi Biennale. A last-minute rush followed and we landed in Kochi just in time to welcome 2017.

For all those who love the idea of travel for new experiences and exploring different cultures, we want to say – visiting the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is a thought-provoking experience and a king-sized portion of inspiration is assured!


10 minutes after entry, while we gushed in excitement, we ran into an elderly gentleman who sincerely asked, “what is the purpose of all this?”


What is a Biennale?

Quick introduction for the many friends who asked. Biennale (pronounced bi.enˈnaːle) is Italian for “biennial” or “every other year”, is any event that happens every two years. Within the art world, it is used to describe large-scale international contemporary art exhibitions and for artistic events like Film, Music and Architecture festivals.



Overview of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

The 3rd edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale features art, literature, poetry, theatre, performing arts, music, cinema, sculpture, video and audio installations. A total of 97 artists, writers and poets from 31 countries are here this year. The 2016 edition is curated by artist Sudarshan Shetty. The Biennale theme is: Forming in the Pupil of the Eye. You can view his video here.



Inspiration List from the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

A ‘Reason List’ is not needed for something that will trigger your imagination. But for us, putting this list down was a great way to understand what we appreciate the most.


Reason to Visit #1: Atmosphere and Interesting Audience

Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016
Group of young cadets getting introduced to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. It is truly an event designed for everyone to attend. We met a gentleman who earnestly asked “what exactly is the purpose of this?” and found art connoisseurs, artists and students admiring what they saw. There’s something very liberating about it’s classless atmosphere.


Reason to Visit #2: Mega Event

Yellow Periscope at the Aspinwall Entrance at the Kochi Muziris Biennale
The scale of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale qualifies as one of the mega events of contemporary art in South Asia. That itself is reason enough to be excited. We were super impressed at how professionally the event is organized and it is no mean feat to achieve this.


Reason to Visit #3: Not just an Art Gallery

At the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016
You have been to art shows and galleries? Seen spotlights on paintings fixed on pristine white walls? Maybe you also went to film festivals and seen world cinema. But seeing mediums like films, audio-video, installations, space, sound and theatre overlap and merge to express a view? This is like an explosion of multiple arts and ideas all in one place.

As you walk through heritage buildings and imposing warehouses you smell the distant past and the history they must hold in their walls. They not only house the art but end up becoming a work of art themselves.

Reason to Visit #4: Historic Locations

At the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016
The Event is housed in magnificent heritage buildings, imposing warehouses that were abandoned and have been artfully revived now. As you walk through these structures, you can smell the distant past and sense the history they must hold in their walls. In our view, they not only house the art but end up becoming a work of art themselves.

At the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016


Reason to Visit #5: Sights and sounds of a heritage district

At Fort Kochi, India. At Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016
Along with the Biennale there are other interesting places to visit in Kochi. Fort Kochi is full of heritage buildings that reflect different cultural influences. While exploring these charming lanes along with the Biennale venues, you can chart out your own art trek not to forget stopovers at local eating places and markets. The photogenic Chinese fishing nets are just a short walk away from Aspinwall house, which is the main venue for the Biennale.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. – Pablo Piccasso

Hope this convinces you to pack your bags and head out to Kochi and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016. Or visit a contemporary art event to check it’s vibe. We are eager to know how you feel about art shows or events you visited? Or the reasons why you don’t visit any?

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