Middle Eastern artists will be on show at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2020
First list of artists for the major exhibition, scheduled to take place in December, was released on Tuesday
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2020 has announced its first batch of participating artists, with creatives from Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt included in the upcoming exhibition.
The fifth instalment of the event will take place from December 12 to April 10, 2021, across various locations in Kochi, India. The programme will include a major exhibition, as well as performances, screenings and workshops.
Titled In our Veins Flow Ink and Fire, the biennale exhibition will be curated by Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao and explore ideas across social, political and artistic practices. In a statement, Rao emphasised the role of art and creativity in dealing with global problems.
“The biggest challenge facing us is, of course, the unprecedented magnitude of the global pandemic … and yet it is a creative act to think through problems, to navigate obstacles, to work with people to collectively and inventively dismantle challenges,” she said.
“These imperatives continue to be present in my curatorial work for the next Kochi-Muziris Biennale … I have to say that I see challenges as creative opportunities, and a chance for people to work differently with common cause,” she added.
Cairo-born artist Iman Issa, who works in Berlin, will be part of the show. She has exhibited at major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York, as well as the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.
Issa’s conceptual sculptures tap into political and personal references in objects, reimagining artefacts from museums and archaeological sites. Her work also reflects on the construction and destruction of public monuments, along with their impact on historical memory.
Lebanese artist Ali Cherri, who splits his time living in Beirut and Paris, will be part of the show. His work focuses on ideas of heritage and archaeology in relation to the Arab world, as seen in his 2015 film The Digger, in which he captured the millennia-old necropolis of Jebel Al Buhais in Sharjah and the tombs of Jebel Hafeet.
In October last year, Cherri presented his sculptural works Graftings as part of the group exhibition Phantom Limb at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. His sculptural assemblages comprised of artefacts representing looted objects from ancient Middle Eastern sites.
Artist collective Decolonising Architecture Art Residency from Palestine, which is co-directed by Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal, will also participate. Their ongoing project, Refugee Heritage, which was also part of Phantom Limb, puts forward the idea of including refugee camps in Unesco’s World Heritage List.
DAAR also presented their work Concrete Tent as part of the exhibition Permanent Temporariness at New York University Abu Dhabi in 2018. The large-scale tent-shaped structure highlighted how refugee camps are no longer temporary sites, but rather, have become semi-permanent urban areas that become symbols of displacement.
Speaking of the event, biennale director Bose Krishnamachari said in a statement: “As humanity combats this pandemic, I believe that art and culture will not just allow for healing, but will also create a space for togetherness. We have trust in this ability of art, and we think that the biennale in Kochi can be a site for self-reflection and further imagination.”
Other artists in the list include:
From West Bengal, India. Lives and works in New Delhi.
From Santiago, Chile. Lives and works between New York City and Santiago.
Colectivo Ayllu / Migrantes Transgresorxs
Artist collective founded in Madrid, Spain.
Sami artist collective established in Guovdageaidnu / Kautokeino, Sapmi, Norway.
From Kimberley, South Africa. Lives and works in Johannesburg.
From New York, United States. Lives and works in New York City.
From Lieto, Finland. Lives and works in Helsinki.
From Surakarta, Indonesia. Lives and works in Gross Gleidingen and Surakarta.
From Calicut, India. Lives and works in Baroda.
Pio Abad and Frances Wadsworth Jones
From Manila, Philippines and London, United Kingdom respectively. Live and work in London.
From Kolkata, India. Lives and works in New Delhi.
From Charleville, Queensland. Lives and works in Brisbane.
From Goa, India. Lives and works between Baroda and Goa.
From Hong Kong. Lives and works in Hong Kong
From Karachi, Pakistan. Lives and works in New Delhi.
Slavs and Tatars
Artist collective working in Berlin.
Thao Nguyen Phan
From Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City.
The u-ra-mi-li project
Artist collective working in Pondicherry.
Artist collective founded in Yangon, Myanmar. Live and work in Yangon.
From Kumaranallur, Kerala. Lives and works in Baroda.
From London, United Kingdom. Lives and works in London.
From Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Lives and works in Los Angeles.
Updated: July 22, 2020 03:21 PM