Wednesday, 9 May 2018, 5:30 pm at BTH Sarovaram, Ernakulam, Kochi

The story of Bhimrao, born in 1891 in the cantonment town of Mhow into a life of untouchability, is, on the surface, unlike the story and the legend that surrounds prince Siddhartha Gautama, born over 2500 years ago into aristocracy in Lumbini. Yet the two figures meet in a space outside time, when on 14 October 1956, the largest religious conversion in human history took place under the stewardship of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. If a stupa is where Buddha’s relics are interred, the book ‘Bhimayana’ is nothing less than a secular stupa for Ambedkar—for his work and his ideas. ‘Bhimayana’, published in January 2011, saw the fortuitous coming together of Ambedkar’s story and the distinctive art of Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam (assisted by their daughter Roshni Vyam, then fifteen years old). This modern retelling of Ambedkar’s fight for equality, at once a celebration of the aesthetic and the political, resembles a Jataka tale.

Translated into Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Korean, Spanish, and French, with an international English language edition by Tate Publishing, ‘Bhimayana’ is India’s largest selling graphic art book. Taught in several schools, it has been in the B.A. English syllabus of Delhi University since 2013.

Please join us as we seek to mount ‘Bhimayana’ at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Authors and artists S Anand, Roshni Vyam, and Subhash Vyam will present their past and future work with the Gond tradition and the life of B R Ambedkar.

This event is free and open to all.

Let’s Talk is organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, and made possible with the support of HCL Foundation.