KMB ’14 a must-visit for families, visitor numbers rise to 75,000

Dated: December 31, 2014

Kochi, Dec 31: Nearly three weeks after the festival was thrown open to the public, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2014 has registered an impressive footfall, totalling nearly 75,000 at its seven Fort Kochi venues.

Christmas day alone ushered in a considerable number, higher than that of regular working days.

Schools, far and near, have pencilled KMB ’14 into their year-end itinerary. KMWP School, based in Thrissur and roughly 80 km from Kochi, usually takes children to Wonderla, an amusement park in Kochi, for their year-end trip. This time their destination is the Biennale. As many as 180 students from classes 1-7 of that institution came to see the exhibits.

“It is super,” a group of students in the team said excitedly.

Japanese Ryota Kuwakubo’s shadow-throwing train titled ‘LOST #12’, Pors & Rao’s ‘Teddy Universe’, and Kolkata-born Susanta Mandal’s playful bubble work ‘Where have all the stories gone?’ are usually the hit pieces with most children.

“The Biennale gives our people the chance to enjoy, appreciate, and interact with art,” said Kerala High Court Judge V. K. Mohanan, who visited the biennale with his family. “It also brings economic benefits through tourism and an international cultural sensibility to Kochi.”

Apart from extending visitor timings up to 6.30 pm owing to popular demand, the biennale will also give people will get free entry on Mondays starting in January and for the course of the entire biennale. While tickets for the eight venues cost Rs. 100 (US$1.60) in all, entry for school children up to 15 years is only Rs. 50.

Poornima Winny came with her family — mother, aunt, sister, husband, and five-month-old baby — while on a holiday from Dubai. “We were not able to come to the first biennale though we are natives of Fort Kochi,” she said at the main Aspinwall House venue. “Some of the art is very high-brow, but it is nice to see such an event here.”

Mark Stein, who came with his wife and two young daughters from Germany, said, “This is a very different biennale from those in Europe... Here families and children are part of the show.”

For a lot of other local families who came visiting, the biennale has been “surprise”. Anny Koshy, herself an artist, who brought her husband and two sons along to the biennale, said: “For us (elders) it has been a surprise, but for the children, the biennale has opened up a whole new world... Art is no longer a strange pursuit or an intellectual preoccupation.”

Kochi Biennale Foundation trustee Hormis Tharakan, a former Director General of Police of Kerala as well as a former chief of India’s external intelligence department (Research & Analysis Wing), said the Foundation was keen to make the biennale an inclusive idea.

“We don’t want ticket costs to stand in the way of people taking part in this festival of art,” said Tharakan. “Apart from the art, there are several seminars, films, and other programmes that everybody should participate in.”

The Biennale has become integral to the cultural consciousness of the state. Apart from literary, cinema/cultural personalities, and foreign tourists, the exhibition has become a ‘must-visit’ for families.

CB

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