The business community and artistes in Kerala have come together to support the second edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB), pledging Rs 25 lakh worth of sponsorship so far for the 108-day long mega art festival, commencing from December 12.
At a unique sponsor-a-day fundraising event, which also marked the launch of Spice Harbour, a new waterfront hotel and restaurant in Mattancherryold and new businesses in the city ranging from media and education to construction, hospitality and automobiles, threw their weight behind efforts to put Kochi on the map.
Sponsors have already booked about 10 days of the Biennale for funding support, with more expected to chip in over the coming days. George M George, Executive Director of Muthoot Leisure & Hospitality Services (MLHS), who was instrumental in organising the fundraising, highlighted the role of art in society.
Art has always had patrons, whether in Europe or in Mughal India, he said. We now need to showcase Kerala as a people and a cultural location, not just as a tourist destination. Urging young entrepreneurs to set a precedent for a vibrant private-public partnership for the arts, KMB director Bose Krishnamachari said, Invest in soft-power via support for arts and culture. The credibility it will bring to your organisations is manifold.
Film maker Aashiq Abu and his actor wife Rima Kallingal sponsored a day on behalf of Caf Papaya. Crist Inman of Raxa Collective, which manages Spice Harbour and other MLHS-owned properties, spoke about the importance of the Biennale with regard to inspiring the next generation. We are very happy at the way the business community has come forward to support art. Such initiatives are a positive development and it gives a strong message on how serious the business community of the state is about supporting art, said Komu, KMB Director (Programmes).
The Biennale is not only about art, it is about life. We need to build an art infrastructure in Kochi that would help local artists, he added. As part of the fund-raising drive, a person or company could sponsor a day at the Biennale by donating Rs 2.5 lakh. Weekends and KMB opening and closing days are valued higher.
The second edition of the KMB, curated by artist Jitish Kallat, will showcase 95 artists from 30 countries. In August this year, the Kochi Biennale Foundation got a long-term patron in UAE-based businessman T V Narayanan Kutty, who came forward to donate Rs 1 crore per year for the conduct of the KMB.
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