Kochi – November – 2013: The Hon. Mayor of Cochin, Mr. Tony Chammany, today officially declared the internationally acclaimed Indian artist, Jitish Kallat as the curator of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014.
Mr. Bose Krishnamachari, President of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, opened up the proceedings and thanked the State Government, the local bodies and the local and international art communities for their support. He gave a brief overview of what India’s first Biennale meant to the state and to the nation. He said, “ Kochi-Muziris Biennale is one of the largest contemporary art events of its kind in India and it’s the second largest running Biennale in the world after the Venice Biennale.”
In his speech the Mayor of Cochin, Mr. Tony Chammany said “The first edition of the Biennale accentuated the tourism and cultural sectors of Kerala,” and said that “the biennale requires a permanent venue as it promises to return every two years.” The Mayor then officially unveiled the name of the new curator, Mr. Jitish Kallat, in the presence of dignitaries and the media. Mr. Kallat who hails from Thrissur but who lives and works from Mumbai was welcomed with a Ponnada and was presented a memento by the Mayor.
Mr. Riyas Komu, the General Secretary of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, introduced the new curator to the press and media and said that “The Biennale is continuing its unique character by choosing an Artist again as the Curator and celebrating the legacy as an artist initiated project.” Mr. Komu said that he is glad that the Artistic Advisory committee “has shown immense confidence that Jitish will curate an innovative and experimental second edition.”
In an interactive session with the reporters and media Mr. Kallat said that he was “honored and privileged” to accept the role of the curator of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014. He said he looked forward to “ the second edition of the Biennale, since the first edition showed us the scale of how art is perceived and it promised to return every two years. This return is required for the Biennale to develop its unique grammar and vocabulary. ” He also said that the media played a vital role in initiating a dialogue and bringing biennale to people’s home’s.
Mr. Kallat was selected by a special Artistic Advisory Committee chosen by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. The committee which is meant to rotate every two years included the art historian Ms. Geeta Kapur, the director of Bhau Daaji Laad Museum Ms. Tasneem Zackeria Mehta, Artist Ms, Sheela Gowda, Director of Outset and the Gujral Foundation Ms. Feroze Gujral, , Artist Mr. Balan Nambiar, Curator and Gallerist Mr. Abhay Maskara, and the President and the General Secretary of the Kochi Biennale Foundation Mr. Bose Krishnamachari and Mr. Riyas Komu.
The decision to appoint Jitish Kallat as the curator for Kochi Muziris Biennale, 2014 was made unanimously by the committee. The official statement from the committee states, “To continue the unique character of this artist led Biennale we are selecting Jitish Kallat as the new curator for the 2014 edition. Jitish brings immense international experience to the next Biennale. He possesses sound theoretical knowledge about contemporary art along with a diverse yet meticulous approach to his own practice. We are confident that Jitish will curate an innovative and experiential second edition.”