Thiruvananthapuram: Nearly a month after a high-powered panel of artists and prominent personalities made their unanimous decision, Minister for Culture K C Joseph announced one of the most innovative Indian contemporary artists, Sudarshan Shetty, as the curator of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2016 at a function in the capital today. The new curator continues the KMB tradition of being an exhibition curated by an artist.
“KMB has contributed to Kerala’s culture, tourism and hospitality industries and renewed India’s cultural position in the world. We will extend full support to the programme in the coming years,” said the minister at an afternoon event attended by political bigwigs and artistes from the state, including biennale founders Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu. “The new curator will be vital to furthering this site of art.”
Shetty, 54, takes over the mantle of KMB curator and artistic director from Jitish Kallat. Both are Mumbai-based artists of international renown, with Shetty’s installations and multi-media works being shown across the US and Europe. His work featured in the first KMB and he is the only Indian artist who has been commissioned to create a public sculpture in Japan.
“Through just two biennales, the KMB has acquired the role of one of the most important exhibitions globally,” said Shetty, who was at the function with his wife and daughter. “It is a privilege to be declared as curator. This is early stages and my thoughts will undergo several changes, but I will be looking to the future while considering the past, in putting together the exhibition in 2016.”
KMB 14 was 108-day event, spread across eight venues, featuring 52 international and 42 Indian artists, and received nearly 5 lakh visitors.
“It is good to have a curator who has worked in various mediums and so can understand in various ways how art can capture aspects of life,” said MP Shashi Tharoor. “We have overcome some of the parochial mentalities in recognising the role of KMB and people are coming from all over the country and the world to see it. So, we should strongly invest in it.”
The new curator was selected after a month-long deliberation by a panel under KBF comprising artists Amar Kanwar, Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher, Jyoti Basu, and patrons Kiran Nadar, Ranjit Hoskote, Shireen Gandhi, V Sunil, and also Kochi Biennale Foundation President Krishnamachari and Secretary Komu.
Present at today’s function were former Culture Minister M A Baby, Kochi MLA Dominic Presentation, Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Chandrika, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammani, film makers Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shaji N Karun, Lenin Rajendran, Planning Board Member G Vijayaraghavan, former DGP and KBF trustee Hormiz Tharakan, ADGP R Sreelekha and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy chairman Soorya Krishnamoorthy.