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Kochi-Muziris Biennale In India Makes Splendid Return After Two Years

Despite its recent delay, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India is finally returning on Friday after a gap of two years.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) is the largest art exhibition in India, as well as the largest contemporary art festival in Asia. KMB was born in 2010 as the brainchild of Bose Krishnamachari and Riyaz Komu at the initiative of the Kerala Government. The first edition was held in 2012, with three more editions every two years since then. In 2019, Singapore-based artist Shubigi Rao was asked to curate and manage the fifth edition, scheduled to open in December 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was postponed twice.

Haegue Yang, Sonic Droplets – Steel Buds, 2022

Even as the pandemic subsided, things didn’t go smoothly for the KMB. The event was scheduled to open on 12th December earlier this month, but mere days before the opening it was announced that the biennale was indefinitely postponed due to ‘organizational challenges’. However, Shubigi Rao chose to tackle the issue head-on and solve whatever hurdles existed. Now, her fruit of labor will finally be on display as the KMB opens on December 23rd.

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In the ensuing two years, Rao changed the theme of the exhibition from ‘satire and humor’ to ‘sound’. The most prominent feature would be Peruvian artist Claudia Martinez Garay’s installation of video animation and sound titled Ayataki (2022). The installation focuses on the Peruvian Civil War that lasted from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Amit K. Patil’s sound installation explores the world of Powada singers – local singers from Maharashtra who documented the Dalit resistance in the state. Haegue Yang comes with Sonic Droplets – Steel Buds (2022), an installation made up of 100,000 bells.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale will run till April 10, 2023.