Biennale facilitated emergence of viable art space in region: Riyas Komu

Prof. Nissar Ahmed delivering the keynote address at the four-day conference titled 'Art, Body,Thought: Expressions'. The participants pictured here are: (from left to right) TV Madhu, Anita Thampi, Kalpetta Narayanan and Sashi Kumar.

Prof. Nissar Ahmed delivering the keynote address at the four-day conference titled ‘Art, Body,Thought: Expressions’. The participants pictured here are: (from left to right) TV Madhu, Anita Thampi, Kalpetta Narayanan and Sashi Kumar.

Conference titledArt, Body, Thought: Expressions’ sees discussion on thought-provoking topics

Kochi: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) has facilitated both a rise to primacy for art in Kerala and the consequent return of artists to the region, observed eminent artist and Biennale co-founder Riyas Komu at a conclave of scholars here.

Komu was responding to a question about the utility of art posed by renowned academician Prof. Nissar Ahmed during his keynote address at the opening of a four-day conference on Friday (Jan 13) titled ‘Art, Body, Thought: Expressions’.

The conference – organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation and supported by HCL and Kiran Nadar Musuem of Art – will run till Monday (Jan 16) at the Pavilion in Cabral Yard, Fort Kochi.

“To escape conservatism and the lack of patronage, there had been a tendency among Kerala artists to migrate in search of opportunity: from Raja Ravi Varma to KCS Panicker. The Biennale facilitated the emergence of a viable art space in the state,” Komu said.  “Traditional art works act as a cultural acupuncture in the contemporary world,” he added.

Noted poet Latheesh Mohan had presented a paper on ‘Regional as Language’, where he discussed the relation between language and the physical make-up of a region. He observed that it was high time to discard the search for origin theories to language.

“Digging around a dark, blurred past only gives you more darkness. The monopoly of language should be broken, moving away from a situation where modulation of language signifies one’s social positioning to a process where language is understood to be an evolving process that can accommodate every marginalised and ignored voice,” Mohan said.

Renowned film critic Prof. C.S. Venkiteswaran contended that local cinema had become a response to globalisation. “Packaging the region in a beautified way for the global market has become a trend in regional film industry. A consumer state like Kerala, which is constantly exposed to and inspired by global trends, can never reflect the regional. Persisting with the local is how we can resist this trend,” Prof. Venkiteswaran said.

In an earlier session, media veteran Sashi Kumar said the process of making art is being lost due to over interpretation. “Forms can be changed, especially art forms. The entire thrust of digitisation is to disembody – virtual reality instead of reality, hologram instead of human, part instead of whole. Video art is a manifestation of this phenomenon,” he said.

The conference has already seen discussion by a number of eminent thinkers like poet Anita Thampi; writer Kalpetta Narayanan; scholar Prof. T.V. Madhu; Dileep Raj and Ranjini Krishnan.

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