Over 250 Malayali Artists Question Home, Identity & Community Through ‘Lokame Tharavadu’

Over 250 Malayali Artists Question Home, Identity & Community Through ‘Lokame Tharavadu’

For every year in the past decade, the city of Kochi comes alive with art and music that has been carefully curated for months together. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is the annual magnum-opus for national and international artists that converge to spark dialogue and tease the creative intellect of visitors and art afficinados alike.

The non-profit art foundation which recognised the immediate physical, emotional and socio-political disparities that the pandemic created, decided to rethink the way in which art could be viewed as a source of hope and revival of normalcy.

Image source: India Art Fair

Years after its last successful edition in 2018, the Kochi Biennale foundation has collaborated with the Kerala State Government to create a unique, contextualised curation that revolves around the theme ‘Lokame Tharavadu’ which translates into ‘The World Is One Family’.

Curated by artist and founder of the Kochi Biennale, Bose Krishnamachari, the art exhibit brings together 250+ visual artists who trace the roots back to Kerala. In this unique attempt at reviving Kerala’s native art and honouring its artists, the art festival has now enveloped the quaint port city of Alappuzha (Alleppey) & Ernakulam.

Alappuzha which is one of the oldest planned city in Kerala is a serene port city that is home to large abandoned warehouses and storage facilities set up during the Dutch rule in the 19th century. With several lagoons and canals running through it, Alappuzha came to be named as the ‘Venice Of East’. The city’s rich cultural history was what drove the Biennale foundation to resurrect the city’s lost charm.

The dilapidated warehouses that are now owned by the Kerala Coir Corporation have been converted into a massive exhibition space that spans across 60,000 sqft in over 5 locations and 13 buildings.

Lokame Tharavadu (The World Is One Family) Is Open To Visitors Till the 30th of November

The art festival derives its name from the verses of an old Malayalam poem written by Vallathol Narayana Menon that appeals to the universal human spirit placed within the context of the ongoing pandemic.

With a vision of reviving the ‘dejected human spirit’ and to offer a glimmer of hope through art, Lokame Tharavadu explores ideas of home, roots, identity and the communal spirit that was drastically altered in the last two years.

The dilapidated warehouses that have been converted into art galleries

The festival which commenced earlier this year in April had closed within a month due to the second wave of COVID. It was only in August that it opened up once again to the public and is expected to go on till the 30th of November.

A photo-series that explores gender roles and identity

Over 3000 artworks including paintings, installations, photographs and films are on display at the venues which include the Port Museum and Darbar Hall in Ernakulam. The central theme in most of the works on display are ideas of home and identity or the lack of it. The work ranges from the personal to a collective sense of displacement, identity and alternative ideas of what home could mean.

Some of the more powerful pieces of work also highlight the various internal communal turmoils the state and its local communities have witnessed in the past. From gender disparity to a migrant unrest and even a silent genocide of estate workers that took place in the history, Lokame Tharavadu wakes one up to the collective pain that has been endured and offers a sense of hope and respite for a new future that the post-pandemic world could represent.

A photo-series that explores how surveillance has altered human identity

To know more about the artists and the festival, click here.

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