Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018: "Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life"

Published by art-agenda

In August 2018, four months before the fourth Kochi-Muziris Biennale opened, Kerala was hit by a catastrophic monsoon. It resulted in the worst flooding in the region for over a century: more than 300 people died and an estimated 220,000 were left homeless. The devastation of the floods brings the biennale’s idealistic curatorial vision—to develop “the warm solidarities of community” and a “politics of friendship,” in the words of its curator Anita Dube—into sharp relief.(1) So do allegations of sexual harassment by prominent figures in India’s art world, including one of the biennale’s co-founders, artist Riyas Komu, who stepped down as the biennale’s secretary in October. Visitors may wonder how the biennale can achieve its ambition to engage with local audiences, while at the same time confronting institutional sexism, addressing its international publics, and responding to natural disaster.

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Image: Nathan Coley, A Place Beyond Belief, 2012. Installation view at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018. Photo: Swanoop John.

Balamohan Shingade