Kerala’s latest artist residency space is a luxurious 120-year-old bungalow
Gallery OED’s latest collaboration with Malabar Escapes redefines artist residency programmes
Art meets architecture whenever boutique hotel group Malabar Escapes takes up projects. In fact, the brand is widely considered to be the first to introduce the concept of boutique heritage properties to Fort Kochi’s neighbourhood. Over the years, Joerg Drechsel and Txuku Iriate, the heart and soul of the establishment, have continued to nurture a vibrant space for artists within the city. In fact, the massive display space at Passage Malabar is a product of their relentless efforts.
Having collaborated with Mattancherry-based Gallery OED’s founder Dilip Narayanan to bring some of the finest artists in the country including Riyaz Uddin to the city, this boutique venture has now turned its attention towards reinterpreting the concept of art residencies. Moving away from the well-trodden paths (think antique backpacker hostels), their latest endeavour, Arke, focusses on a 120-year-old, Kottayam-based heritage bungalow located on a small hilltop.
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“Arke (meaning high mountain) is renovated in typical Kerala style and done up tastefully with antique and contemporary art d’objects. It will function as a paid residency for an artist/ writer/filmmaker/ performer/curator or anyone from the creative field, looking for a quiet place away from the bustle of a big city, to contemplate new works. The duration of stay could be month-long or more depending on the artist and work scope. Post-residency, the artist is free to make an exhibition of the works created at our gallery Beyond Malabar,” explains Dilip, who's piloting the project.
Open to artists on individual and group terms, this luxurious property is set amidst lush tropical spice gardens, which is approximately 130 km away from Kochi. Consisting of four large rooms at present, Arke aims to deliver an uber experience with its endless list of amenities which includes a pool, bicycles, and studio spaces depending on the projects.“Through this residency, we are aiming to build a network of artistes—who like to create relevant works via a collaboration with the local community. We hope to provide a mutually enriching experience through this process,” he shares, adding that they encourage the artist to be funded by an art foundation/ council/ embassy or consulate in their respective country since it is a paid residency.
Arke Residency is currently accepting applications for its April-September term