The Kochi Biennale Foundation, in collaboration with The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and Foundation for Indian Art and Education (FIAE) has developed Students’ Biennale (SB), an exhibitory platform which runs parallel to the Kochi Biennale. SB reaches out to government art colleges across the country and is invested in using the charge and possibilities of a temporary, global Biennale platform to energise art schools and art production across the country.
In 2014, in its first edition, the Students’ Biennale was put together with the efforts of a group of 15 young curators who visited the various institutions and created an exhibitory framework for works they encountered there. In this platform that brings together art pedagogy and art practice, exhibition sites and art school structures, there is an emphasis on training young curators as much as reaching young art students and affecting change in art institutions.
Even as the exhibitory platform focuses on three artists per school or one collective project (this is the brief given to the curators) we realise there is something much greater at stake than bringing a few individual artists together on an exhibition platform. Via the curators, we imagine a rhizomatic structure coming into place which is about forming networks and solidarities, about linking up institutions, students, alumni, professors etc and about forging a deep understanding of the ‘contemporary’ in different places.
In 2016 we will continue the same process and again reach to around 55 art schools, predominantly government, which are spread across the country – from Imphal to Jabalpur, from Kumbakonam to Surat etc. The histories of these institutions are complex and diverse - the 200 yr old colonial institutions, the national schools that came up in the early 20th century, the post independence institutions, the vocational polytechnic centres, the newly set up art schools of the last two decades etc.