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Scottish artists at Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Published: 15 Dec 2016

To promote cultural partnership and creative connections, an exquisite line-up of eight celebrated artists from the UK are exhibiting at the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India, with support from British Council in partnership with Creative Scotland.

Scottish artists Hanna Tuulikki, Charles Avery, Jonathan Owen and Rachel Maclean are amongst the artists exhibiting their work the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, one of the biggest celebrations of contemporary art in Asia, which runs from 12 December 2016 – 29 April 2017. The line-up of celebrated artists also includes Nicola Durvasula, John Tilbury, Naiza Khan and Mikhail Karikis.

Work by Hanna Tuulikki and Jonathan Owen
Work by Hanna Tuulikki and Jonathan Owen

Continuing its association with this landmark event, now in its third edition, the trip is an outcome of the biennale curator and director’s visits to the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Turner Prize in Glasgow in 2015.

British Council India Director, Alan Gemmell OBE said “I am thrilled to be part of the Kochi Muziris Biennale. This is my first time here, and I am excited to see the energy and amazing work. We aim to bring the best artistic talent and collaborations to India, to not only strengthen ties between the UK and India but also to raise audience awareness of talent in both countries. We are glad to introduce these artists through a platform like Kochi Muziris Biennale. We look forward to another successful edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and hope to bring more UK artists to India over the next few years.”

Kochi Biennale gathering - tweet by Alan Gemmell

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi. Indian and international artists will exhibit artworks across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art. Alongside the exhibition, the Biennale offers a rich programme of talks, seminars, screenings, music, workshops and educational activities for school children and students.

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland said “It is hugely exciting for Scotland to be at this wonderful biennale. Our artists are very much looking forward to this incredible opportunity to showcase their work in this amazing setting. They are keen to receive audience feedback and interact with artists from India and other parts of the world, in this great cultural melting pot. We wish the Biennale all success”.

Curator Sudarshan Shetty said "This is an enormous opportunity for me as an artist to get into other spaces, other’s minds, other’s ways of looking at the world. This has been extremely rewarding in many ways."

Read more about the UK artists at KMB 2016 on the British Council website.

About the artists

Charles Avery- Through his work, Avery has depicted an intricately conceived and ever-evolving body of drawings, paintings, sculpture and text which narrates the story of a fictional island. Avery’s project evolves further as he situates his imagined town within the city of Kochi, the existing architecture and social fabric of which acts as a stage for the enacting of Avery’s fictional narrative.

Hanna Tuulikki- Artist, composer and performer Hanna Tuulikki uses the voice to build worlds out of sound, immersive ethereal spaces that unearth primary relationships with the environment. In a process of revealing the land encoded in the song, the lore embedded in the land, she weaves connections between oral tradition, ecology, language, and archaeology.

Jonathan Owen- His work involves the systematic transformation of readymade objects and images, using materially reductive processes. He is interested in making by removing, and the controlled collapse of existing objects as a method of production and reactivation. Owen’s “drawings” begin as photographs found in books. He gently removes parts of the original picture which creates a new narrative within the image, whilst leaving a ghostly trace of what was there before. His sculptures work in a similar way.

Rachel Maclean-A multi-media artist living and working in Glasgow, Rachel Maclean uses film and photography to create sickly, candy-coloured worlds filled with ghoulish characters. Rachel has also been selected to represent Scotland at the Venice Biennale 2017.

John Tilbury- John is a British pianist known for playing both improvisation and repertoire music, and a member of the free improvisation group AMM, which he joined in 1979. He is an unrivalled interpreter of 20th Century composers such as Morton Feldman, John Cage, Christian Wolff and Howard Skempton, as well as adaptations of the radio plays of Samuel Beckett. His book Cornelius Cardew – A life unfinished (2008) is considered the definitive text on experimental composer Cardew, with whom Tilbury had a long and close association.

Nicola Durvasula- Her fine drawings, paintings and sculptures incorporate a number of influences including Japanese calligraphy and Indian miniature sculpture as well as the traditions of musical performance, including the graphic notations of experimental composers such as John Cage. Durvasula has exhibited extensively in India including in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi and was included in survey exhibitions of Indian art outside the country and is considered an important part of the contemporary art community in India.

Mikhail Karikis- His work embraces a variety of media to create immersive audio-visual installations and performances which emerge from his long-standing investigation of the voice as a sculptural material and a socio-political agent. He often collaborates with communities whose lives challenge the mainstream, highlighting alternative modes of human existence and action.

Naiza Khan- Naiza Khan captures the day to day experience of living and working in Karachi, where everyday life is affected by natural disaster, urban migration, displacement and political struggle. Through her work the artist explores ideas of movement and boundaries, the breaching of borders, as well as the perceptual and textural building of terrain.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is India's first biennale for contemporary art, being held in Kochi, Kerala. There have been two editions so far, and the next edition is slated to be held in December 2016, which will be curated by artist Sudarshan Shetty.

The exhibition is set in spaces across Kochi, the Muziris region and surrounding islands. There will be shows in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures. Indian and international artists will exhibit artworks across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art.

Through the celebration of contemporary art from around the world, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi, and its mythical predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris. Alongside the exhibition, the Biennale will offer a rich programme of talks, seminars, screenings, music, workshops and educational activities for school children and students of all ages.

See more information on the programme's line-up.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.

Media Contacts

Rajeswari Pradeep Kumar, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications (South India) Email: Rajeswari.PradeepKumar@in.britishcouncil.org Tel: 89398 31780

Sophie Bambrough, Media Relations & PR Officer, Creative Scotland. Email: Sophie.bambrough@creativescotland.com Tel: 07747606146