The View from Fort Kochi
For a place traditionally open to global cross-currents, where as many as 14 languages were spoken once, one new word is no big deal. The Italian term “biennale” has caught on in the town, which has much to thank Italy for. The place got its first promotional one-liner from the 15th century Italian traveler Nicolo Ponti: “Kochi is a great place to spend all the money you make in China”. Out on the historic lanes and bylanes, the current event has already blurred the border between art and the everyday clutter the municipal town lives with. Its logo, drawn from Kathakali’s characteristic colours of red, green and black, is all over the place — on posters, banners and festoons. Less formally, painterly colour adorns an upturned tree at Parade Ground and is added for good measure to walls that bear much graffiti, some for and some against the big bold/bad biennale.
Art students from Baroda and Ahmedabad are going about their business of mounting installations near the beach or brainstorming at a cafe. The less art-savvy, young and old, are gallantly clambering up
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