Kochi: The curtains went up Wednesday for the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), billed as South Asia's biggest contemporary art festival.
The event is expected to feature works by 94 Indian and international artists.
Kochi Biennale Foundation president Bose Krishnamachari and Biennale 2018 curator Anita Dube hoisted the flag for the 108-day event at the main venue, marking the start of the festival.
Art patrons from around the world attended the ceremony.
Krishnamachari, who was co-curator of the debut Biennale in 2012, welcomed the public to attend the event that concludes on March 29 next year.
"I hope each one of you enjoy the works on display at this edition as well," he said, thanking the art fraternity for their love and support.
Dube expressed happiness in presenting the 'final product' of her vision as the curator.
"When I was given the responsibility of curating the festival, I began with a dream. I am happy to have accomplished it", she said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while speaking at the opening of KMB announced a new Design Biennale slated to be held in Kochi in 2021. "After the next edition of the Biennale (KMB in 2020), there will be a Design Biennale in Kochi," Vijayan said.
Vijayan said the government continued to support the Kochi Biennale despite the devastating floods that ravaged the state earlier this year, because art was an important aspect of an individual life.
"The government has been spearheading the rebuilding of the state, but we have not gone back on the grant for the event. Art is necessary for man to be elevated from animal status."
The festival, spread across 10 venues in Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam, will feature 94 projects presented by over 100 artists.
Past curators Jitesh Kallat and Sudarshan Shetty, who were also present, congratulated Dube.
Among the venues, Aspinwall features 60 artist projects, while TKM Warehouse and Pepper House will showcase six and eight respectively.
This time, KMB has become the world's first biennale to feature more women artists than men.
Based on the curatorial theme of 'Possibility for a Non-Alienated Life', it seeks to explore newer access to art practices amid seminars, workshops, lectures, cinema and performances.