India to host new international art biennale

India's booming art scene is set for a new event modelled on the Venice Biennale that will feature 60 international artists by the sea in the tropical south of the country.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale, launched this week, will be held in January next year and will be the first event of its kind in India, featuring artists from all over the world in a three-month show.

Conceived by artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu and funded in part by the local state of Kerala, the show will make use of numerous industrial spaces in Kochi and exhibition areas in the ancient port of Muziris.

"We've always had this idea of bringing in international art into India," Komu told AFP in a telephone interview. "We thought that a Biennale would be the best bet."

Artists working in all mediums will be invited, including several from countries with which India has poor diplomatic relations, notably neighbouring Pakistan and rival Asian powerhouse China, he said.

Young lesser-known figures with potential will be picked alongside established international names that will pull in the crowds and hopefully establish the event - and India - on the international art map.

"We'll definitely have some stars (taking part)," Komu said, adding that a list of participants would be finalised in the next six weeks. "It's important to have stars, especially for the first biennale."

Kochi, he said, was an ideal location given its physical beauty, its mixing pot of religions and its role as a cultural crossroads when it served as a centre of the spice trade around the Arabian Sea.

Arab traders and Dutch and British colonial adventurers have all left marks on the city, built on a cluster of islands, that boasts an array of old warehouses and dilapidated buildings that will be put to use by the organisers.

Muziris is an nearby ancient port city on the Malabar Coast that is being excavated by the Kerala government.

Despite the similarities in concept and the seaside locations, Komu is wary of comparing his event with Venice, which has more than 100 years of history and draws tens of thousands of people to northeast Italy every two years.

"You can't go into comparisons," he said. "Kochi will develop its own character."

The Indian biennale, with an initial budget of 100 million rupees ($2 million), hopes to establish itself on the international art calendar alongside Venice, the Basel art show in Switzerland or the Shanghai art fair.

"It should evolve into a large major-scale project," said Komu, a painter and photographer who was born in Kerala.

The only other international art event in India is the growing Indian Art Summit, whose third edition last month in New Delhi drew 34 foreign galleries, double the number from its previous edition.

The Art Summit has helped to raise public awareness of contemporary art, which is still very much in its infancy in India, with buyers and fans mostly restricted to the chattering classes of major cities.

Komu sees the Summit as an important commercial forum - work worth an estimated 5.4 million dollars was sold in 2009 - but Kochi will focus on artistic creation and education, rather than sales.

Overseas interest in Indian art, following a general slump in prices in 2009, is regaining momentum - albeit with a strong focus on well-established artists.

Last year, a 1983 painting, "Saurashtra" by Syed Haider Raza, sold for almost 2.4 million pounds at Christie's in London, setting a record for a modern Indian work.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick