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Can you hear the sound of the Earth turning?

By Dominic Xavier
March 30, 2015 15:34 IST
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The second edition of the spectactular Kochi-Muziris Biennale is deeply intertwined with the history of Kochi, discovers Dominic Xavier/

In an art world that already boasts of 250 Biennales, the comparatively young Kochi-Muziris Biennale is already making an impression.

This year's edition, curated by the eminent artiste Jitesh Kallat, has been titled Whorled Explorations.

It explores two important aspects of Kochi’s past -- its maritime history and the birth of what would come to be known as the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics.

Running parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 are various art events, cultural programmes, the Artists' Cinema, the Students Biennale (featuring the works of students from government-run art colleges in India) and the Children's Biennale that includes workshops for young learners.

The venues, spread across the port town of Kochi, include the Aspinwall House, an old warehouse that is the main setting for the art extravaganza, as well as warehouses and art galleries in and around Mattancherry.

Some glimpses:

Nandita Chaudhuri, Hidden Voices
Halfway Point between Aspinwall and Pepper House

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

Installation artiste Nandita Chaudhuri seeks to explore thoughts and emotions that remain trapped in the crevices of our minds and, many times, get lost in the process of communication.

Postcards from Yoko Ono, Earth Piece: Listen to the Sound of the Earth Turning
Aspinwall House

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

John Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, has crafted a new identity for herself as a performance and conceptual artists.

Postcards from Yoko Ono: Earth Piece is part of her famed 'Instruction Series' where she simply puts down her instructions on a postcard to create works of art in the mind of the beholder.

Well, can you hear the Sound of the Earth Turning? 

Fiona Hall, Curve Ball
Aspinwall House

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

One of Australia's most well-known contemporary artists, Fiona Hall has created Curve Ball on bark cloth with earth pigments and plant dyes.

Curve Ball indicates how the destruction of Nature is indeed a curve ball that will come back to destroy Mankind.

Gigi Scaria, Chronicle of the Shores Foretold
Pepper House

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

Hanging over the Arabian Sea, that is such an integral part of Kochi's history, Gigi Scaria's gigantic bell -- it's 13 feet tall, weighs 2.5 tonnes and measures 16 feet at its base -- cronicles the history of the venue.

The water of the Arabian Sea, that passes through tiny holes drilled into the bell, symbolises the changes that history has wrought in this maritime town.

Laurent Grasso, 1610 IV
Aspinwall House

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

In creating a relationship between the known and the unknown, the visible and unverifiable, with the use of light and glass, French artist Laurent Grasso attempts to offer a partial understanding of the reality that surrounds us.

Dayaniti Singh, 1.9.2014, Dear Mr Walters
Aspinwall House

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

In this series of interconnected moments in life, interspersed with a few standalone images, Dayanita Singh uses photography as a form of architecture.

Nandakumar P K, Reclaiming the Forgotten Ruins: The Land Re-formed 2
Dutch Palace, Mattancherry

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

At one time, the Pazhannur Bhagavati temple that is in the centre courtyard of the Dutch palace was popular for the free meals it served daily.

The ruins of the structures that were used as a dining hall and a pond where the vessels were cleaned still exist.

Nandakumar P K initiated an effort to clean the debris and the overgrowth and reclaim the land in 2012.

His project highlights the value of art in bringing a community together to address the issue of preserving culturally and environmentally fragile areas.

The Students's Biennale

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

Art students from across the country take over the Students's Biennale at Mohammed Ali Warehouse, Mattanchery.

The Children's Biennale: Clint Memorial Exhibition

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

This exhibit showcases the works of Edmund Thomas Clint, who started to draw when he was six months old.

He died at the tender age of seven, leaving behind 25,000 paintings and drawings.

Chithra E G, Abreaction
Mandalay hall

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

Chithra E G's seven-foot brass sculpture of a pregnant woman explored the various roles of a woman.

She has used her own face as a visual inspiration.

Gulammohammed Sheikh, Balancing Act
Vasco Da Gama Square

The Kochi Muziris Biennale

Taking inspiration from an 18th century Jaipur miniature, Gulammohammed Sheikh has created a sculpture of acrobats performing tightrope act before a ruler.

What makes the installation memorable is that he has given these figures the faces of modern politicians.

Don't miss Part I of this fascinating feature.

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Dominic Xavier /