Kochi-Muziris Biennale to begin on December 12: What are Art Biennales and why are they significant?

Source: The post is based on the article “Kochi-Muziris Biennale to begin on December 12: What are Art Biennales and why are they significant?” published in Indian Express on 13th December 2022

What is the News?

The fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale opens on December 12 (founded in 2011). It will have on display the works of over 90 artists from across the globe in varied media. 

What is Kochi-Muziris Biennale?

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in the city of Kochi in Kerala. It is the largest art exhibition in the country and the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia. It is an initiative of the Kochi Biennale Foundation with support from the Government of Kerala.

What are Art Biennales?

It is an international large-scale showcase of art that takes place every two years at a particular site.

It is usually non-commercial enterprises – unlike art fairs – that centre around a curatorial theme.

History of art biennales around the world: One of the most prestigious and oldest biennales in the world, the Venice Biennale was established through a resolution by the city council in 1893 to celebrate national artistic talent. 

– With its rising popularity, the 1900s saw the emergence of Biennales across the world, with Bienal de São Paulo (Brazil)  being instituted as the first non-European biennial in 1951.

– In 2009, a global Biennale Foundation was established with an “aim to create a platform for dialogue, networking, and knowledge sharing among contemporary art biennials around the world”.

Significance: Though most biennales do not allow for the direct purchase of art, an invitation and participation in the global showcase are often viewed as a validation of an artist’s work.

Additionally, Biennales, often named after the host city, become a reason for local pride, promoting cultural tourism and generating revenue through visitors.

Moreover, it creates a new language of cosmopolitanism and modernity rooted in Old traditions. For instance, Kochi is among the few cities in India where pre-colonial traditions of cultural pluralism continue to flourish.

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