Johnleia Lambert:


The Kochi- Muziris Biennale art exhibit is a city-wide art show displaying the work of various international artists. The exhibition began in December and runs through the month of January, 2013. Located, in the city of Kochi in Kerala India, the exhibits are strategically placed in locations that go with the flow of the eclectic districts.  The outer wall of the Cochin Club displayed the HFV (Hypothetical Future Value) Project. Thirty-six light box digital transfers lit the pathway to the Cochin Club Beach. One panel that captured my attention was of a man in his late 20s. The distorted portrait created the dimensions for his perfectly slicked back hair and a chiseled jaw to mask his awkward ears and crippled nose. I reminisced back at Trivandrum when our trip coordinator Arun asked what “cool” meant. Lauren explained the term making a reference to James Dean, the classic 50s icon. The man had that same mysterious glaze and persona James Dean embodied that cultivated his charm.

Not fully gasping the concept behind the exhibit, I went back to the description and read “The project’s intent is therefore to capture youth at it’s best hour. Regardless of circumstances youth exudes a shared sense of extreme idealism that persists even after indoctrination by the laws and conventions of a society”. I felt that the artist, Ariel Hassan, captured the word “cool” in this digital transfer. A rebel without a cause; the essence of youth. Hassan could have easily represented youth using children as his subjects. Instead he capture youth at it’s best hour in 36 different people from various backgrounds redefining the word in an unconventional way.

I think my generation in America needs exposure to artists like Ariel Hassan; people who push the societal boundaries that defines us. We need inspiration to have Hartals (general strikes) and to not simply let the government dictate our lives. We may increasingly be a new model of development for Kerala but we can also take notes on their involvement with politics and ongoing struggles for social justice.