The Students’ Biennale is the largest educational initiative of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, and seeks to complement and strengthen the fine arts education system in India. Given the challenges produced by the coronavirus pandemic this year, the Students’ Biennale is committed to making the platform available to students and institutions more than ever. The programme has been restructured to function as an online exhibition while also developing other meeting grounds like workshops and interactions to address the circumstances that students and educators are facing today.
This fourth edition is led by a team of five artists and art educators – Adip Dutta, Archana Hande, Manoj Vyloor, Suresh K Nair and Vasudha Thozhur. This team comes with long years of engagement with art-making as well as working with students and young practitioners. Over the last three months, they have worked with 315 student artists from various parts of India to produce around 50 projects in this first virtual exhibition of the Students’ Biennale.
The students’ programme began in the inaugural edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale itself in 2012. Named the ‘Higher Education Programme’, this platform had students from twelve educational institutions showing work in Kochi. This was formalised into the Students’ Biennale with the 2014 edition, with students from around 40 Indian art colleges showing. The workshops element was introduced in the 2016 edition, which saw participation by students from nearly 60 colleges. The curatorial method was changed for the 2018 edition, with more experienced artists and teachers coming in as curator-mentors. Over 1000 students have participated in the exhibition and programmes of the Students’ Biennale across the previous three editions.