Anita Dube has been announced as the curator for the 2018 edition of the ‘People’s Biennale’ at the concluding ceremony of the 2016 KMB at Durbar Hall Ground. The proclamation was made by the chief guest of the evening, Culture Minister AK Balan, for the fourth edition of the international contemporary art exhibition.
Bose Krishnamachari, Kochi Biennale Foundation President and Director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, welcomed the new curator over a recent tweet.
— Bose Krishnamachari (@KrishBose) March 29, 2017
“Anita’s sensitivity towards materials, incorporating everyday objects derived from informal, craft and industrial sources and spaces, is profound. As is her wordplay and use of mediums, gestures and imageries — all of which will make for varied experiences and resonances in a space as adaptive and accommodating as the Biennale. Her oeuvre features both knowledgeable consideration and skillful melding of the sensibilities and styles of abstractions with real, contemporary concerns. This will, doubtless, be reflected in her curatorial vision,” reported Krishnamachari.
The avant-garde Indian artist, famous for her politically reflective body of work, expressed her excitement and gladness by stating, “Through three editions, the KMB has gained a reputation for being one of the most important exhibitions of its kind around the world. It is an honour and a very big challenge to be declared curator of this wonderful platform. I am delighted that the jurors thought I can deliver. I accept the responsibility with excitement and humility. It is early days yet and my thoughts will no doubt undergo several changes going forward, but I view this as an opportunity to do something special.”
Dube has taken over from Sudarshan Shetty, the curator for the previous and third edition of KMB. Shetty, whose vision for the Biennale was to bring forward the maverick expressions of art and culture by myriad artists, told in an interview, “Since I accepted the role, I’ve been having conversations with people who are, strictly speaking, outside the space of a biennale. There are so many practices in India — music, theatre, dance — which are all eminently contemporary in their resonances. How does one bring all these into the world of art?”
Speaking on Dube, who is a renowned art critic, photographer and visual artist, the foundation secretary and co-founder of the Biennale, Riyas Komu said, “It is a matter of great honour and pride for the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) to have Anita Dube as the curator of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018. She is one of the most respected artists of our country. She is renowned for her conceptually-rich, politically-charged works.”
Dube has had her share of controversies when she carved provocative words out of buffalo meat for her historic performance in Keywords, which acted as a catalyst to discourses on art history.
The KMB acts as an arousing ground to defend artists’ rights and to prevent transgression of freedom of speech and expression. It has hence been thoroughly recognised by the state government of Kerala as a culturally and economically prevalent body, that has transformed the face of Kochi and Kerala by serving as an amalgamation for artists from all over. Reflecting on the same, Komu stated, “Anita’s selection not only reinforces our commitment to having artists at the helm, but also our mission to address contemporary social-political-cultural concerns. Anita is a strong proponent of making art accessible to the public through effective political and social engagement. This is precisely what the Biennale tries to do.”
The Contemporary Connect
“The Biennale is an international open forum for artists and encourages experimentation in every area that one would like to have,” says world-renowned architect, Padma Shri BV Doshi. Describing the exhibition as a medium of exchange trapped in immediate presence and demand, Doshi further added, “The Kochi Muziris Biennale aims to mix age old and extremely futuristic elements, which I think is the kind of marriage that makes the spot very memorable, important and significant.”
Professor PJ Cherian, Director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) emphasised on the significance of the People’s Biennale for spreading contemporary art. “What we call contemporary art becomes more myopic in expression. Hence, this medium demands expansion of vision. She is capable of making a lot of difference,” said Cherian.
The festival of celebration of contemporary art supported by the Government of Kerala boasts of Indian artists like Abhishek Hazra, Abir Karmakar, Zuleikha Chaudhari, TV Santhosh, along with their European counterparts, Éva Magyarósi, Charles Avery, Sergio Chejfec, Nicola Durvasula and John Tilbury, among significant others.