P K Sadanandan’s Biennale art finds home at Cochin international airport
One of the biggest attractions of the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, a massive natural colour mural by artist P K Sadanandan depicting a popular story from Kerala folklore, has now been installed at the new T3 terminal building of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).
Telling the well-known tale of the origins of the clans in Kerala “Parayi Petta Panthirukulam” was painstakingly created by Sadanandan and three of his colleagues over the 108 days of the Biennale from December 2016 to March this year using natural dyes extracted from stones, leaves oil, sand and tree sap. No synthetic colours were used.
Top officials from the government and CIAL authorities visiting the Biennale at the time had expressed the desire to find the 15mx3m mural a home at the newly constructed Terminal 3 at the airport. Among the champions of the idea were Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, former minister M A Baby and Ernakulam MP Prof K V Thomas who saw the artwork as a great symbol of Kerala to greet visitors to the state.
“After the Biennale, we had meetings with V J Kurian, the MD of CIAL and other officials to complete the formalities to install the mural in Terminal 3. We facilitated their talks with the artist and offered logistical support for the installation,” said Bose Krishnamachari, the President of the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF).
“CIAL is the fourth busiest Airport in the country and a masterpiece such as this deserves to be installed here, as it conveys the idea of secularism and speaks strongly against caste-based discrimination,” he added.
Sadanandan himself was thrilled at the idea that the work would be viewed by the thousands of people passing through the airport every day. “I am happy that the painting will draw international attention from a world which may not always focus on art. The methods used in drawing this may have been ancient and traditional, but the message it conveys has much relevance in the present time,” he added.
"I hope that this relationship will give a fillip to the efforts made by the KBF to place Kerala in the world cultural map. Since the inception, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale has been showing us how a concept of bringing in the world renowned artists with their installations to a land which is historically famous for its alliance to different cultures is reshaping our perception towards art", said V J Kurian IAS, Managing Director, CIAL.
The last three editions of the biennale have produced many master pieces. I believe, ‘Parayi Petta Panthirukulam’ is certainly one among them. The association with the foundation gave us an opportunity to be in possession of this painting and we have displayed it in our newly commissioned Terminal-3. Through this, I hope that our discerning international passengers will get an opportunity to have an acquaintance with Kerala’s own traditional style of painting; the mural art, he added.
KBF Secretary Riyas Komu said they had received many suggestions for relocating the work after the Biennale, including to state museums. “But the work requires careful maintenance and preserving under certain temperature conditions and it might have placed a huge financial burden on the host. CIAL was a great alternative and the officials there were very supportive,” he said.
KBF’s logistics undertook the installation and presentation of the work free of cost.