Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty was unanimously selected by the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s Artistic Advisory Committee as curator and artistic director of the third Kochi-Muziris Biennale, to be held in Kerala, India. The appointment was annouced on July 15 by the Kerala state minister of culture, KC Joseph, in the presence of prominent government officials, Foundation trustees and dignitaries from the art and cultural sector of India. Scheduled for December 2016, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale will showcase the works of 94 artists from 30 countries. Taking place across eight separate venues, the biennale will run for 108 days.
“It is certainly a matter of privilege to be chosen by the Artistic Advisory Committee,” said Shetty of his appointment. He emphasized that working on the project will be something close to his heart, as well as to the history that he shares with the local audience, for which he will strive toward the vision of a “People’s Biennale.” When asked to explain further his concept of the “People’s Biennale,” Shetty said to ArtAsiaPacific by email that it is an “idea built into the mission statement of the Biennale.” Adding that, “My effort would be to achieve that objective through a curatorial brief that perhaps will include people’s involvement in the event. It’s now only my first week into understanding the logistics involved [with the Biennale] and it will take us some time to conceive a broader perspective on what could be accessed as a ‘shared history’ and the retelling of it.”
Since graduating in 1985 with a bachelor of fine arts in painting from Mumbai’s Sir JJ School of Art, Shetty has worked with a plethora of mediums and materials, eventually establishing himself as an installation artist and sculptor. In his practice he is known to explore, question and juxtapose objects in order to reveal new possibilities of meaning, life and narratives that surround seemingly straightforward and domestic devices. His works have been exhibited extensively throughout India and abroad, including in a solo exhibition at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan (2001), and group shows at Israel’s Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2012), the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2011) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2010). Shetty was also a participant in the inaugural Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale has established itself as one of the most important international art events in India. Its first two editions drew a total of nearly one million visitors. The Artistic Advisory Committee, which is appointed by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale Foundation, is comprised of preeminent local artists and cultural practitioners, such as Bharti Kher, Atul Dodiya, Kiran Nadar and Jyothi Basu, as well as curator Ranjit Hoskote, gallerist Shireen Gandhy and trustees of the Foundation.