Plea for releasing additional Rs 5 cr to Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Kochi: Members of Indian and international art community has urged the Kerala government to honour its commitment of an additional Rs five crore towards the ongoing Kochi-Muziris biennale.

The fund was "essential" for the conduct of the pioneering art festival that has made the state a "new hub" on the international cultural map, the art community said.

The clearance of the proposed grant, which was frozen on the eve of the three-month event that began on December 12, will also help create a base for its future editions every two years, 72 eminent painters, sculptors, installation artists and scholars noted in a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

The Biennale would be of immense importance to the state at many levels as it would bring new inputs and draw attention to the state`s art scene and contribute substantially to a serious and responsible cultural tourism, they said.

The event `deserves the unstinting support of the government, to fully achieve its goals`, they added.

The memorandum was signed by luminaries such as Vivan Sundaram, Geeta Kapur, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, Ranjit Hoskote, Amar Kanwar, Sharmila Samant, Suresh Jayaram, Tusha Joag, Justin Ponmany and Prajakta Potnis.

Meanwhile, friends, fellow activists and fans of K P Krishnakumar gathered at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale yesterday and recalled the works and personality of the painter-sculptor on his 23rd death anniversary.

The Aspinwall House at Fort Kochi turned out to be the first-ever venue to host a meeting in the memory of the iconic Malayalee who led a pan-Indian radical art movement for two years a quarter century ago, before killing himself on the day after Christmas in 1989 at age 31.

"Krishnakumar continues to be our strength," said artist K Raghunathan, a close associate of the firebrand activist-organiser. "It is the energy drawn from him that enables me to do my sculpting."

He said Krishnakumar led a revolution in the world of art in the end-1980s, seeking to free its virtual patronage from the urban elite who had a European hangover in their appreciation.