Antique merchants in Mattancherry to spread Biennale spirit

Tuesday, Nov 18, 2014,0:25 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Dealers of antique items in Mattancherry’s historical Jew Town here are poised to whip up excitement for the newage KochiMuziris Biennale. As the contemporary mega art festival draws near on December 12, as many as 32 shops which form part of the Jew Town Antique Dealers Association (JADA) will put up flags, banners and other Biennale decoration to attract tourist attention to the 108day event.
We felt that we had missed an opportunity in not participating in the debut KMB (of 2012), said Jose Mathew Leen, who is part of the sevenmember committee set up by JADA to work on the Biennale project. We thoroughly enjoyed the last edition and felt that as a local business community we must lend our support to this mega event which brings the world of art to our doorstep. Jose, who owns Leens Exports, is offering a wall space to any visiting KMB artist to create graffiti. The local participation is apt, note cultural leaders.
‘After all, KMBs Whorled Explorations theme is very Kochicentric’, points out one of them. As part of the tieup, JADA members, who have shops on Jew Town Road and Synagogue Lane, underwent an orientation to enable them suitably guide visitors on KMB programmes and venues. The area’s Kashmiri shopkeepers, who are not part of JADA, also took part in the session on November 15. Art and architecture students will provide the merchants with designs for the streets. Jewish settlements have always had arches, one situated at the entrance, said Rockey C Neroth, president of JADA.
Mattancherry too had them, but they have been lost to time. The students will help us recreate them with a Biennale theme. The Biennale is not just an art event. It is a cultural commitment to the local community, said KMB programme manager Bandhu Prasad. So we are pleased to have this sort of community involvement, he added. The Student’s Biennale is an important feature of the KMB and we are pleased that it is being hosted in Mattancherry.
Three Mattancherry spaces Mandley Hall, Heritage Arts and Mohammed Ali Warehouse provided by merchants, have been selected as venues for collateral programmes, and as the exhibition space for the Student’s Biennale. JADA member shops deal in antiques, paintings by local artists and furniture.