Bridging Past And Present: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale Returns

Kochi Biennale, South Asian Art, Shirin Neshat, Rana Hamadeh, Anita Dube, Irene Promodh
Courtesy of Kochi-Muziris Biennale
Dana Awartani. Love is my Law, Love is my Faith. 2016.
The fourth edition of the most prominent South Asian contemporary art exhibition announces its first list of participating artists that include Middle Eastern names Shirin Neshat and Rana Hamadeh

As the largest contemporary art biennale in South Asia, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale returns this year from 12 December to 29 March 2019 and will feature a series of talks, workshops, film screenings and music alongside its central art show, the likes of which have never been seen in India before. Located in Kochi, the heart of Kerala, the fourth edition of the exhibition reignites regional ties to the city’s mythical past in the midst of its fast-paced economic and cultural boom. It bridges Kochi’s history of trade and intercultural interaction at the ancient and now archaeological port of Muziris, with its current realities in a global context.

Kochi Biennale

Praneet-Soi. Cut-Out Archive. 2016. Installation view. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

Curated by Indian contemporary artist and art critic Anita Dube, the exhibition has been organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, a non-profit organisation since its creation in 2010 by artists Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari. But unlike former editions, the upcoming fourth edition of the biennale seeks to serve as a ‘knowledge laboratory’ and platform of social cohesion and non-alienation for members of underrepresented, oppressed and minority groups to boldly engage in public dialogue. This theme resonates with Dube’s vision to bring freedom and greater communal engagement to Kochi, especially through the diversity reflected among the recently revealed international artists. Participating artists of note include the Guerrilla Girls, Marlene Dumas, Prabhakar Pachpute, Shilpa Gupta, and William Kentridge.

Kochi Biennale

Ales Steger. The Pyramid of Exiled Poets. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

After visiting 29 countries to research the works and personal narratives of the shortlisted artists, Dube selected the first list of participants, including Lebanese artists Akram Zaatari and Rana Hamadeh. This eclectic mix of featured artists will enable the local audience to connect with their past whilst also gaining a global perspective on depictions of contemporary politics through art.

Kochi Biennale

Alex Seton. Refugee. Marble sculpture installation. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

The Kochi Biennale Foundation’s initiative to promote artistic appreciation among the local youth in India will culminate in the KBF’s most extensive educational project, the Students’ Biennale, which will be held alongside the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Under the guidance of established educators and curators, undergraduate and graduate students from a range of South Asian countries will display their works as part of the exhibition. This edition will also see the creation of the Expanded Education Forum as part of the Foundation’s efforts to take artistic education to a pedagogical and academic level across the subcontinent.

Kochi Biennale

P K Sadanandan. 12 Stories. Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

Please see the full list of artists below:

Aernout Mik (Netherlands)
Akram Zaatari (Lebanon)
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew (India)
Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (Thailand)
B.V. Suresh (India)
Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon)
EB Itso (Denmark)
Goshka Macuga (Poland)
Guerrilla Girls (US)
Heri Dono (Indonesia)
Ines Doujak + John Barker (Austria + UK)
Jitish Kallat (India)
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba (Vietnam)
Madhvi Parekh (India)
Marlene Dumas (Netherlands)
Nilima Sheikh (India)
Pangrok Sulap (Malaysia)
PR Satheesh (India)
Prabhakar Pachpute (India)
Rana Hamadeh (Lebanon)
Rina Banerjee (India)
Santu Mofokeng (South Africa)
Shilpa Gupta (India)
Shirin Neshat (Iran)
Shubigi Rao (India)
Song Dong (China)
Sue Williamson (South Africa)
Sunil Gupta + Charan Singh (India)
Tania Bruguera (Cuba)
Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland)
Valie Export (Austria)
Vipin Dhanurdharan (India)
Vivian Caccuri (Brazil)
Walid Raad (Lebanon)
William Kentridge (South Africa)


The Kochi-Muziris Biennale will be held across various locations in Kochi, Kerala, from 12 December 2018 until 29 March 2019. Kochimuzirisbiennale.org

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Kochi Biennale, South Asian Art, Shirin Neshat, Rana Hamadeh, Anita Dube, Irene Promodh
Courtesy of Kochi-Muziris Biennale
Dana Awartani. Love is my Law, Love is my Faith. 2016.