New visions in Kerala

New visions in Kerala

A year after India held its debut pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale, the country gets an art biennale all of its own.

The city of Kochi, in Kerala, already had a lively arts scene, but this new event is transforming old buildings into exhibition spaces and highlighting the excavation at nearby Muziris, a Roman trading port that mysteriously vanished 2,000 years ago. Participants include Sheela Gowda, who uses incense, human hair and cow dung; KP Reji, who paints in bold, bright oils, for example in School (pictured); and Srinivasa Prasad, who deals with transience in works such as Tailor Mama.

The artistic director Bose Krishnamachari says: ‘Most artists who have explored the sites are making new works; their ideas are so exciting.’

INSIDER TIPS: Bose Krishnamachari’s guide to Kochi
Visit Muziri’s heritage sites in order to understand Kochi’s mythical predecessor.
Shop for spices on Bazaar Road and antiques and curios in Jew Town.
Pause for coffee and cake at Kashi Art Cafe or iced tea and stone-oven pizzas at David Hall.
Eat fish curry at Ginger House restaurant in Mattancherry.
Escape to peaceful Marai Beach.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (, 12 December to 13 March 2013.

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