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23 Jun 2024, Edition - 3267, Sunday

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Transcending boundaries through contemporary art

Jiji Ann Cherian


Kochi : In 2007 when artist Riyas Komu built a house in Kochi, the most touching gift he got was from his brother – replica of a wooden ship that once dotted the Port of Beypore. The gift, a symbol of the trade and culture that once flourished here with foreign lands, touched his heart.

It gave him “a different consciousness of time and a history of movement” that when he planned to built an art hub in Mattancherry, he couldn’t think of a better name than Uru that played a great role in the cultural map o f the country.

The unassuming building, once a warehouse, that overlooks the backwaters wreaks of an old world charm and set to be a vibrant interactive cultural hub for art, literature and philosophy. “Creativity in any form will be promoted,” says Riyas all excited about a long cherished dream.

No wonder this comes from a man who eats and breathes and lives art and who travels extensively exploring and promoting its various nuances. His critically-acclaimed political works have been exhibited extensively in India and abroad, including several on Kerala’s political and cultural history.

Even though his art practice developed and evolved in Mumbai, Riyas was always fascinated with Kochi. “ I always believe in Kochi’s potential a s a cultural hub,” says Riyas who has a perfect programme laid out for Uru which will have an interesting itinerary over the weekend. As part of bringing the young close to world cinema special film screenings of renowned directors like Majid Majidi are organized for kids free of cost. Uru will also double up as an art residency where artists can stay and give form to their expressions of art in peace and solitude.

Riyas and artist Bose Krishnamachary have been instrumental in making biennale happen in Kochi in a great way. They have taught Kochiites to enjoy contemporary art that transcends borders. “Uru will bring Kochiites more closer to art,” signs off Riyas.

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