Street art forms backdrop to India's first biennale
The inaugural Kochi-Muziris Biennale features some innovative street artworks alongside its gallery-style exhibits
It's taken a while for graffiti to establish its own heirarchy in the gallery system, so it's pleasing to see India's first biennale having the confidence to add a street-art strand right from the off. As part of the inaugural Kochi-Muziris Biennale, currently in place now in Kerela, southern India, a group of artists are installing works on the walls of the colonial era buildings around the older parts of town.
Visitors to Peter Celli Street in Fort Kochi should look out for paintings by the New Delhi artist Amitabh Kumar, Gujarati Sidhhartha Kararwal and Yantra, a former ad-agency art director turned artist born in Delhi. Meanwhile, down on the sea-facing wall of the 18th century dockside store, Pepper House, fellow Gujurati Anpu Varkey has installed a huge mural.
It's an interesting selection of works which successfully represents what's going on nationally in India right now. Rather than sticking exclusively to hardened graffiti writers, the curators have invited artists who have reputable gallery careers - Kararwal is better known as a sculptor, for example.
Also, its an interesting juxtaposition to see street art installed in a tropical setting, on older buildings, away from the usual sodium-lit underpasses and urban environments more commonly associated with the practice in the west.
For more on the biennale go here, to learn more about the fascinating world of Indian movies, consider our Bollywood book, and if you're heading over to India this festive season, take a look at our Wallpaper guides to Mumbai and Delhi.