Apart from the Aspinwall House there are many more venues at the Biennale to visit, like David Hall, Pepper House, Dutch Warehouse, Kashi Art Café, Cabral Yard and Anand Warehouse. Shahidul Alam’s “Singed But Not Burned” series of photographs is on show at the Mocha Art Cafe in Mattancherry, which combines epic landscapes devastated by climate change with images of people on the streets shackled by poverty and social inequality. No matter what is in focus of his camera, it captures the beauty of the moment.
At the Anand Warehouse Japanese Yohei Imamura presents new works that serve as an attempt to depict the expansive sceneries of the mountainous regions. Inspired by his mountain climbing practice, each hand-painted layer in his work serves as a metaphor for the steps one must take to climb a mountain and reach the summit. Venues like VKL Warehouse, KVN Arcade or Trivandrum Warehouse, are dedicated to the Student’s Biennale.
Among them there are names like Celin Jacob with her installation “Feel the Moment” that is dedicated to the contemplation of nature and its many ecosystems. The artist looks at small forms of life, the existence of which depends on people, but also greatly affects their lives. She recalls growing up among the larvae and scabies mites that descended in groups into yard and caused itching that could last for several days. Shikha Soni from New Delhi is passionate about family ties. In “The Family” she explores herself and her identity, looking at aspects of home, family, and relationships, both interpersonal and intrapersonal, through the lens of intimacy, vulnerability, and psychology. She conducts a thorough investigation into what lies behind the images from an ordinary family album.
Gujarati Nilofar Shaikh is passionate about textures, her artistic pursuits, and their relationship with the environment. In “Healing Map” she attempts to document personal trauma as well as the impossibility of complete healing, comparing this phenomenon to the impossibility of completely erasing, repairing, and filling cracks. The cracked bench becomes a place of rest and conversation, and also demonstrates various attempts at reconciliation.
To one of the important locations of the Biennale belongs the TCM Warehouse, that has brought together some of the well-known figures of contemporary art, such as British-Palestinian Mona Hatoum, who in her work “Untitled” (2013) reflects on world migrations, refugees and the formation of new borders; or the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who documents in his “Games in a refugee camp at Kurukshetra, Punjab, India, 1947” the life of Indians in the tragic period of their history – the period of partition. The video installation by the South African artist William Kentridge “Oh, To Believe in Another World” was inspired by Dmitry Shostakovich’s 10th symphony.
It depicts famous figures of culture and art of the USSR created in the form of paper puppets. Kentridge considers the 10th Symphony, written by the composer on the eve of Stalin’s death, the most humane and suitable for his excursion into the culture of the Soviet Union, which he also explored in his books “I’m not me, the horse is not mine” (2008) or “The Nose” (2010).
This year’s Biennale-edition seems to be more devoted to questions of pressing problems of our time than answers. However, the more people ask the right questions, the sooner solutions will be found. The eternal question remains the same “What is art and how does it affect us?” Pay a visit to the Biennale, and you will probably get closer to that answer. One possible answer might be: In a world full of violence and problems, art has the power to sustain hope.