A new Indian biennale will make its debut in this coastal state. Last year India hosted its first pavilion at the Venice Biennale. This year the country inaugurates a biennale of its own. To be held in the southwestern state of Kerala, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale will feature contemporary painting, film, sculpture, installations, new media and performances by Indian and international artists. Most of the action will unfold in the colonial city of Kochi, whose contemporary art scene already offers more than a dozen venues, from the two-year-old David Hall — a 1695 Dutch colonial mansion — to the longstanding Kashi Art Café, a restaurant-gallery-garden-cafe. To host the events, the city’s 19th-century Durbar Hall and other old buildings are getting top-to-bottom face-lifts. But the most remarkable historical reclamation project is happening in the biennale’s other Kerala site, Muziris. A fabled ancient port that traded spices and silk with Egypt and Greece two millennia ago, Muziris mysteriously vanished sometime after the fall of Rome. Archaeologists have recently located and started to excavate the vanished settlement, which opened to tourists this year. The biennale’s start date is Dec. 12, 2012, or 12/12/12.
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