With an amalgam of various cultures, Kochi is slowly transforming into the art capital of the state. The city, which is home to 20 art galleries, has become a rising star in India’s art scene.
Dinesh Shenoy, an artist based out of Mattancherry is one of the many artists who abide by this belief. "Kochi has always been open to so many cultures, communities and different types of art. The influences can still be seen in the work of the present day artists," says Shenoy. He now owns a gallery for his paintings, where he sells his works to foreigners and locals alike.
The art scene in Kochi has become more dynamic because of the varied people in the city who turn up for exhibitions, says Bahuleyan, another city-based artist. The 39-year-old artist, who has participated in international exhibitions, including those in Poland and Kuwait, believes that the appreciation for art is much better now. "What we now need to focus on is the marketing of art," he says.
Jayanth, director for Kerala Arts Gallery, believes there is a kind of democracy or equality in art. "From a schoolchild to a retiree, they all come to see, question and understand paintings. There is also a rise in a younger generation of artists, willing to experiment on canvas," says Jayanth.
Art lovers like Mia, a German tourist traveling through Kochi, feel that art in Kerala has something unique about it. "Maybe it's the rich cultural tradition, or the urge to not be type-casted. I feel that art, especially the paintings, are more poignant than their western counterparts. The artists’ stylization is also worth a study," she says.