* BMW Art Talk “Art in India: From Collecting to Collective Action”.
Since its very first edition in 2012, BMW has been official partner of Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB). The fifth biennale opened on December 12, 2022 with over 200 projects spread across heritage properties and warehouses, galleries and public spaces across Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Ernakulam on India’s southwestern coast. The central exhibition “In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire” curated by Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao will run until April 10, 2023 featuring 90 artists and over 40 new commissions in historic Aspinwall House, Pepper House, and Anand Warehouse in Fort Kochi.
“As we await you in Fort Kochi, for the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, we acknowledge change – a recalibration of our lives post the pandemic as well as at the foundation and Biennale as we gear for another decade, having just turned ten this year. We are optimistic, learning from Shubigi Rao’s vision for 'In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire’ – of how artists navigate the realities of their conditions and hold hope with their creative intelligence and humour”, notes Bose Krishnamachari, President of Kochi Biennale Foundation.
BMW Art Talk: “Art in India: From Collecting to Collective Action”
To celebrate the fifth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale as official partner, the BMW Art Talk was held on the morning of December 13 at 11.30 AM followed by a lunch at Brunton Boatyard. Shubigi Rao (Curator of KMB 2022-23) and Aarti Lohia (Patron and Trustee KBF) were in conversation with Dr Thomas Girst (Head of BMW Group Cultural Engagement) on the topic of “Art in India: From Collecting to Collective Action”.
Programmes and Exhibitions – Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022-23
Founded in 2010, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) was started by artists for artists, with the intention to bring contemporary art and ideas from across the world to South Asia. Situated in Fort Kochi, an island not far away from Muziris, the ancient port on the maritime silk route, the site was a nod to both a history of trade and cultural contamination, and a locus for global, cutting-edge contemporary art. This year, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, turns ten. While it is a moment to celebrate, it has also been a time of deep reflection.
For further information on the programmes and exhibitions led by Director of Programmes, Mario D’Souza, please refer to:
Shubigi Rao, curator of KMB 2022-23, statement:
“Returning after a gap of four years, the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale examines how we survive, through song, materiality, joy, humour, and through language, whether written, verbal, and oral. After the states of fear, trauma and uncertain limbo of the pandemic years, it may seem strange to call for joy. Where is this optimism? Perhaps we can sense it more tangibly in artistic and collective work, especially in regional or particular contexts and forms, of the artists gathered here, in this Biennale. These artists find their counterparts across the world, with work that includes questions like the possibly redemptive and revolutionary power of practice beyond the market. We see this reflected in growing investigative methods in cultural work that directly excavate and implicate the monetisation of everything — whether environment, activism, crisis, knowledge production and access, global capital flows and inequities. Our co-mingled virtual futures are not mere outcomes of the social isolation of the last two years. We are inextricable from the transmission of knowledge, ideas and capital, and so too are we subject to neoliberal infiltration and control. Implicated now is the concept of nation and inviolability of borders, a pernicious myth that denies the diffusion of languages and ideas, of storytelling and sharing. Grief, anger, resistance and story are all present here. We can be messy in our attempts to remake or reshape our world in our struggles for equity, but rather than inchoate, these are nonconformist compositions, songs of new making. In the face of capriciousness and volatility, against all odds, this Biennale thrums with the power of storytelling as strategy, of the transgressive potency of ink, and transformative fire of satire and song.”
BMW Group India Cultural Engagement.
Since its inception, BMW India has participated in leading cultural engagements across the country. In 2007, two BMW Art Cars created by world renowned artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were presented at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai. BMW Art Cars by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Sandro Chia and Cesar Manrique have been exclusively showcased at various editions of the India Art Fair. “The Future is Born of Art” is a unique initiative by BMW India and India Art Fair which aims to propel emerging Indian artists and further BMW Group’s commitment to promote art, sustainability, and innovation. Since 2012, BMW has partnered with Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the contemporary art exhibition, which brings international artists to India and creates a global platform for Indian artists. In 2012-13, the innovative BMW Guggenheim Lab came to India. Based at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum and conducted at six different sites in Mumbai, the lab organised six weeks of free programme with diverse audience and communities addressing the challenges and conditions of the urban city.
Photo Caption 1: (L – R) Dr Thomas Girst (Head of BMW Group Cultural Engagement), Shubigi Rao (Curator of KMB 2022-23) and Aarti Lohia (Patron and Trustee KBF) at the BMW Art Talk.