THE WORLD IS ONE Canvas
GQ India|May - June 2021
The pandemic may have brought India’s favourite biennale to a screeching halt, but nothing could stop Bose Krishnamachari from putting together Lokame Tharavadu, the ambitious art show featuring 267 artists and one timely message, writes Nidhi Gupta
Nidhi Gupta

I’m broke now,” Bose Krishnamachari is laughing on our Zoom call from his home in Kerala. “I actually had to go back to Mumbai last month, in the middle of a hectic installation period, just to make and sell some artwork. Why? Because we had run out of funds.

”Krishnamachari is referring to his latest coup d’état, Lokame Tharavadu (translating to “The World Is One Family”), a large-scale exhibition of contemporary art, featuring 267 Malayali artists from 15 countries, being showcased across six venues in Alappuzha and Ernakulam. The evening before we speak, Krishnamachari had presided over the opening party in rainy Alappuzha, a low-key affair compared to the lively Kochi-Muziris Biennale opening parties that the art world has grown used to. “But it’s open now,” he grins.

Lokame Tharavadu – open till June 30 to all who carry a negative RT-PCR test – has its roots in Double-Enders, the show of Malayali artists that Krishnamachari had put together in 2005. Sixteen years apart, the scale and scope remain large, as does his curatorial vision. India’s leading contemporary artists, such as Jitish Kallat, Gigi Scaria, Anpu Varkey and Sameer Kulavoor, are all participating. As are dozens of artists living and practising in the Kerala countryside, people that Krishnamachari has discovered and is eager to spotlight.

Krishnamachari suspects that nothing of this scale has existed in South Asia, perhaps ever. “Private donors and artists have given money. I’ve put in the rest,” he says, adding that he hopes to recover it with the state funds allocated for projects by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. “I believe that art is education, which is why this is important. No one gives CSR funds to art – with a few exceptions, like the Tata Trust and the HCL Foundation. People are ready to support cricket. But things are changing, new people have volunteered. I’ve been able to pull this off with the help of artists and colleagues. But I do wish sometimes that I had a lot of money.”

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