IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th December, 2022 Culture

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Context: Postponed twice due to the pandemic, as the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale opens on December 12, it will have on display the works of over 90 artists from across the globe in varied media.



  • In its tenth year, curated by Singapore-based Indian-origin artist Shubigi Rao, the central exhibition of the showcase will centre on the theme “In Our Views Flow Ink and Fire”.
  • The four-month-long celebration of art is expected to attract tourists from the world over,and is scheduled to see several discussions, performances and film screenings.

What are art biennales?

  • An international large-scale showcase of art that takes place every two years at a particular site, biennales are usually non-commercial enterprises – unlike art fairs – that centre around a curatorial theme.
  • 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.
  • 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”. It lists a directory of over 200 biennales that are held at present.
  • Though most biennales do not allow for direct purchase of art, invitation and participation in the global showcase is often viewed as a validation of an artist’s work, and an assertion that they are being noticed.
  • Frequented by the powerful and important in art, a Biennale participation can open opportunities for future museum exhibitions, gallery representation and acquisitions.
  • Additionally, biennales, often named after the host city, become a reason for local pride, promoting cultural tourism and generating revenue through visitors.


A brief history of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale

  • An artist-led endeavour, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale was founded in 2011 by Kerala-born, Mumbai-based artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu with an aim to “create a platform that will introduce contemporary, global visual art theory and practice to India.”