Biennale a learning platform for everyone: Kerala General Education Secretary
>>A Shajahan, who is Secretary, General Education, Government of Kerala, hailed the ABC (Art By Children) programme of the Kochi Biennale Foundation grooming talents at the school level
Art is a great medium of education for kids as well as grown-ups, with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale providing a great platform to the public, a top Kerala bureaucrat said today, hours after a big team of trainees from the state’s police academy visited the country’s biggest festival of its kind.
A Shajahan, who is Secretary, General Education, Government of Kerala, hailed the ABC (Art By Children) programme of the Kochi Biennale Foundation grooming talents at the school level. “Hopefully more of our schools will give importance to art and adopt such programmes,” he said, after a round of the main Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi. “I really liked (South African artist) Sue Williamson’s work. Really thought-provoking.”
The weekend saw a group of 136 trainee cadets from Kerala Police Academy at the Biennale taking in the artworks at the 108-day festival. “Initially, we were clueless, but soon the visit proved to be matter of delight,” said Manju V Nair, a sub inspector trainee. “The art mediator was really helpful. I particularly enjoyed the works of Shilpa Gupta and Shirin Neshat.”
Sharath V R, another SI trainee, said Neshat’s work brought to the fore a “stark difference” in the status of women and men across the world. His batch-mate Bino C Alex said most works were a good reflection of society. “I enjoyed Vicky Roy’s photography series and Jun Nguyen Hatsushiba’s work where we have to walk inside a room filled with water.”
From America, Prof Shaurya Kumar of School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) said the biennale’s spirit of inclusiveness reflects well in the way the exhibits have integrated ideas such as colonisation, slavery, flood, history and geography.
“The participation of artists from the mainstream of international art world along with the local and vernacular ideas brings together the idea of a non-alienated life,” the scholar noted. “The participation of women artists as well as the trained and untrained artists has added the quality of curation. We have taken our students to India for them to also understand the complexity of this country, equally depicted in the biennale.”
Prof Nora Taylor, who teaches at SAIC, hailed the ongoing festival “particularly impressive”. The quality of the works are “really good”, she added, pointing out that she had visited all the three previous editions of the biennale.