Kochi: The cosmopolitanism of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2014 has fascinated a visiting group from Qatar's Virginia Commonwealth University which specialises in art-related courses.
The 25-member visiting group from the Middle East said that the ongoing international exhibition of contemporary art here could be a perfect opportunity to view the continuity of history and the cultural exchange due to trade.
Dina Bangdel, an associate professor and director of art history at the Qatari university, said the group enjoyed the idea of looking beyond Euro-centric models.
"This was a good opportunity to undo the stereotype of the exotic and study the confluences of culture and cosmopolitanism here. This biennale is a perfect microcosm of the issue," Bangdel said.
The visiting students of art history, painting and print-making and fashion design, were keen to look at the potential of replicating this dynamic production of art and how art evolved in the community.
"These students are the future of art in Qatar. So, we were keen to bring them here to ask how they saw themselves in these roles," Bangdel added.
"It is good to come with the students and talk and reflect on the works," said Jochen Sokoly, the German director of the university's gallery and art history.
"In this space, the installations seem more tangible. It is on a very human scale unlike galleries, which seem distant," said Sokoly.
Riyas Komu, the KMB '14 director of programmes, noted that there were "no strong cultural relationships in contemporary art, or in fact other arenas".
"We hope to build ties and start residency programmes and exchanges, particularly with Mathaf, the museum of modern and contemporary art in Qatari capital, Doha," he said.
Qatar has a nascent, but vibrant art scene with several galleries and generous patronage, marked by an annual spending of nearly USD 1 billion on art.