A Preview Exhibition in Support of the Chief Minister's Relief Fund Opens to the Public

Kochi, Jan 4: Kochi Biennale Foundation has opened a preview exhibition for works that will be part of the Ark Rises for Kerala (ARK) relief auction on January 18, 2019. The auction, being held in collaboration with Mumbai-based auction house SaffronArt, is an effort to bring together the Indian and global art community to aid those affected by the disastrous Kerala floods in August of last year. All proceeds from the auction, the first of its kind to ever be held in Kerala, will be directed to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, which is working to rebuild damaged infrastructure all over the state.

  Renowned artists, Indian and international, along with individual collectors, have generously contributed a wide range of modern and contemporary works to go under the hammer. An exhibition of the works is being held starting from January 5th at Bastion Bungalow, a heritage property by the sea in Fort Kochi. The preview is a great opportunity for interested art viewers, in addition to viewing the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, to see works by master artists shown in Kerala for the first time.

Artists featured in the auction include significant figures from Indian art history, like Amrita Sher-Gil, as well as contemporary masters like Anish Kapoor, A Ramachandran, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Anju and Atul Dodiya, Dayanita Singh, Manisha Parekh, Madhvi and Manu Parekh, Velu Viswanathan, Madhusudhanan, Shilpa Gupta, and Mithu Sen. International artists include Francesco Clemente and Robert Montgomery.

Bose Krishnamachari, President of Kochi Biennale Foundation, remarked on Kochi Biennale Foundation's strong bond with artists fostered over the years. "Artists have shown great solidarity with our core values and ever-growing initiatives. The Art Rises for Kerala auction is a chance for the global art community to come together and stand with Kerala in its time of need. We are grateful and humbled by the warm support from the art community for our home state, and very proud to exhibit these works to a public audience."

From that of early 20th-century painter Amrita Sher-Gil to new-age sculptor Anish Kapoor, an array of eminent artworks is on display at a historical building in West Kochi, awaiting auction in less than a fortnight. The proceeds from that January 18 event will go to rebuilding Kerala that was devastated in floods and landslides five months ago.

The auction, being organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) in collaboration with Mumbai’s SaffronArt, will put up for sale the works of 41 artists now on display at the Bastion Bungalow in Fort Kochi. Besides Sher-Gil and Kapoor, they include masterpieces by A Ramachandran, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Anju and Atul Dodiya, Dayanita Singh, Manisha Parekh, Madhvi and Manu Parekh, Velu Viswanadhan, Madhusudhanan, Shilpa Gupta, Nikhil Chopra, Mithu Sen, Francesco Clemente, Robert Montgomery, Sosa Joseph and C Bhagyanath.

The proceeds from the auction at the Grand Hyatt in Bolgatty Island will be channelled to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund that is working to rebuild the state’s infrastructure, according to the 2010-founded KBF that is running the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale from December 12. “Overall, there will be no less than 50 artworks for sale,” notes KBF president Bose Krishnamachari, given that “a few more works are streaming in”.

As for Sher-Gil (1913-41), the Indo-Hungarian artist is acknowledged to be a pioneer in modern art, making her works one of the most expensive in contemporary times as well. The controversial and unconventional artist’s work on display at Kochi is ‘Nude’ she had done in the 1930s. Along with it, Sher-Gil’s ‘A Study’, made in graphite pencil, is also being exhibited at the 1667-built bungalow that is an example of the Indo-European architecture with a slant to the Dutch style.

London-based Kapoor, 64, is a notable presence in the global art circuit. At the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, he had come up with an installation titled ‘Descension’ at the main Aspinwall House venue, much to the attraction of the crowd in the 2014 edition of the festival.

At Bastion Bungalow, Bhagyanath has given his 3D painting that gives an abstract representation of day-to-day life. The artist’s innovative approach lends the sphere-shaped work a three-dimensional feel to the viewer. “There is no greater pleasure than being able to contribute to the relief of the common people,” says Bhagyanath, who is a participant at the ongoing 108-day Biennale as well. “As artists, our works are what we can make resourceful.”

‘Golden Dreams’ is Sheikh’s contribution to the auction. The artwork, which is made in strokes with paint that has gold, also maps the city. Sosa’s is an oil painting that conceptualises the anticipation of women. Shilpa has come up with digital photographs, while Nikhil’s is a landscape titled ‘Lands, Waters and Skies: Imagined Mountains’, capturing the nature in sea-side Fort Kochi.

The Auction Preview is open to the public and will run from January 5 - 17, 10 AM - 6 PM at Bastion Bungalow, Fort Kochi. The Auction will be held on January 18, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty Island. More information is available on www.kochimuzirisbiennale.org.


“The fourth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale runs from 12 December, 2018 – 29 March, 2019.“
Venues are open every day from 10 AM – 6 PM.
Tickets are available for purchase for ₹100 at Aspinwall House.

Universal free entry every Monday.


By Air: Fort Kochi is 45 km from Kochi International Airport, Nedumbassery.
By Train: Fort Kochi is 13 km from Ernakulam Junction (South) Station and 16 km from Ernakulam Town (North) Station.
By Boat: Fort Kochi is 20 mins from the Ernakulam Boat Jetty and 10 mins from both Willingdon Island and Vypin Boat Jetty.
By Bus: Fort Kochi is 15 km from the main bus station in Ernakulam.

Many of the locations of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale are walking distances from each other (most are around 10 minutes or so).


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