Maiden Kochi Art Week gets under way on December 12

Conceptualised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, it will be an annual event

On Sunday, the curtains will go up on the maiden week-long Kochi Art Week (KAW), conceptualised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF), to “activate audiences in the post-pandemic landscape”. What better way than this to come together and build a sense of community, while giving artists visibility, especially after the pandemic, says Bose Krishnamachari of the KBF.

December 12 is significant as the first edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale kicked off on that day in 2012. “We, at the Biennale Foundation, thought it [the art week] would be the best thing to do on the day and bring galleries in the city together. Such art weeks are held in various cities across the world, why not bring it to Kochi as well?” says Mr. Krishnamachari. This will be an annual event, he adds.

Around 11 galleries from the city are part of the event, which will pivot around Pepper House, Fort Kochi, the central venue which will host exhibitions, screenings, talks and affiliate events. The climate-controlled Pepper House Gallery, designed by Mr. Krishnamachari, opens its doors on the opening day. The shows have been curated by the individual galleries, with the Biennale Foundation offering inputs and handling promotions, media and socials.

Heritage walks, curated gallery walk-throughs with artists, talks, workshops for children, guided tours of art venues, film screenings, food trails and virtual events will be held as part of the KAW. The shows planned are diverse, ranging from solo shows to group shows to exhibitions of rarely seen works from collections that belong to participating galleries. “What is even more exciting is that it is not just the private galleries, but even those such as District Heritage Museum (Bastian Bungalow) are part of KAW,” adds Mr. Krishnamachari.

The KAW is being held even as the hugely popular Lokame Tharavadu exhibition is on at Alappuzha showing the works of more than 250 artists. “Lokame Tharavadu was planned at a time when not much was happening in terms of physical or live shows. It was also an economic opportunity for artists, and some of them sold their works,” he says.

The KAW concludes on December 19, but some shows will be on afterwards too.

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