Ojaank IAS Academy

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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

12 December 2022 – Current Affairs

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Urban Transport for Indian women

Paper 3 – Infrastructure

Why You Should Know?

On December 8, the World Bank launched a “Toolkit on Enabling Gender Responsive Urban Mobility and Public Spaces in India” with the aim of suggesting ways to make public transport in Indian cities more inclusive of women’s travelling requirements.
In detail –
Objective
  • The toolkit emphasises on the importance of integrating a gender lens in transport policies and infrastructure, making various recommendations on interventions that can help make urban transport safer, especially for women.
  • It brings together 50 case studies of best practices and efforts from across the world, along with a special inculcation of the Indian context.
Financial independence
  • Poor public transport curtails women’s financial independence and agency
  • Studies show that women, especially those from lower socio-economic groups, are among the biggest users of public transport in Indian cities.
  • Their dependence on public transport stems from lower discretionary incomes.
  • Further, women have unique mobility patterns, often travelling shorter distances, using multiple modes of transport, and travelling with dependents, during “off-peak hours”.
  • Currently, urban mobility systems are not catered to these unique needs of women.
  • This can make travel inconvenient, unsafe, and also more expensive for them, putting an additional burden on a section of society which is already disadvantaged.
  • While many women use public transport on a daily basis out of compulsion, the state of public transport systems has a major impact on a variety of decisions made by women.
  • Studies have shown that lack of safe, inexpensive and reliable public transport has a profound impact on women’s ability to access education and employment opportunities, in turn leading to poorer life outcomes for them. India’s female labour force participation rate is among the lowest in the world, standing at just 30% in 2019-20.
  • Lack of viable urban transport is frequently cited as a major impediment for women to access better employment opportunities.
  • Studies have also shown how distance from home impacts women’s choice of colleges and other educational institutions — and by implication their financial independence and agency.
Major concerns
  • Lack of safety and also the lack of a perception of safety are a major impediment for women when it comes to accessing public transport.
  • Dearth of good street lighting, no reliable last mile transport, and high waiting time at remote bus stops are just some of the challenges in this regard.
  • Crucially, beyond being safe, public transport infrastructure also needs to be perceived to be safe, as it is the perception that guides decisions to use such transport.
  • With safety issues turning women away from using public transport, a vicious cycle is created — unsafe transport leads to fewer women travelling out which in turn leads to fewer women out in public spaces which actually make these spaces even more unsafe.
  • Since the burden of care work (mostly unpaid) lies disproportionately on women, they often need to plan their travel far more meticulously than men, having to juggle various responsibilities at home and work.
  • For instance, a working mother might have to plan her travel schedule around the school timings of her child and the office timings of her husband.
  • This means that women have a far greater need for public transport to be time-wise reliable and efficient with longer waiting times and delays having a deleterious effect on them.
Higher costs of travelling
  • Women also face higher costs of travelling. This is mainly because of two reasons.
  • First, women have to stitch together various short commutes to fulfil the many responsibilities they have. For instance, a typical day for a working mother might involve commutes from home to school back to home, then to her place of work, then back to school and back to home. The World Bank recognises this as “trip chaining” and this increases travel costs.
  • Second, women often also make decisions to use certain kinds of more expensive routes or forms of transport on account of them being perceived to be more safe. For instance, women often take longer routes to travel which are perceived to be more safe, rather than travelling through “unsafe areas”.
  • All these factors amount together as a “pink tax” that specifically burden women and impede them from making optimal decisions for themselves.
World Bank toolkit suggestions
  • The World Bank suggests a four-pillared approach to help address prevailing issues in urban transport for women.
  • First, there has to be greater effort made to understand the on-ground situation with a gender lens. Gender blind planning and infrastructure development leaves major gaps that specifically impact women but are often not overtly visible. The first step to addressing these gaps is to better identify what they are. Any new transport policy or infrastructure development must be preceded by an honest evaluation of issues concerning women.
  • Second, once prevailing issues are identified, policies and development plans must reflect the concerns of women. For this to happen, there must be more women in key institutions in charge of decision making. Until such time women are not adequately represented, their needs are always likely to be secondary. Thus key to actually inculcating a gender lens in public transport planning and development is involving and giving authority to more women stakeholders in the first place.
  • Third, the toolkit emphasises on building gender sensitivity and awareness among service providers through mandatory programmes and community action. Everyone from the bus conductor to local beat constables must be aware of concerns that women have and how to address them,
  • Fourth, investment has to be made in better infrastructure and services with a focus on women-friendly design. While increasing services and strengthening infrastructure is a good idea in general, if such development is made from a specific gender lens, it is far more useful. For example, while creating new bus stops is good, it would be even better if these bus stops were designed to be level with the floors of buses, adequate lighting, SOS buttons, and well-maintained washrooms.
  • Some concrete interventions that the toolkit suggests include creation of wide obstruction-free footpaths, street lighting, clear signages, dedicated bicycle lanes, introduction of short and circuitous bus routes, and subsidising/making free public transport for women.
Who does this toolkit help?
  • According to the World Bank, the toolkit contains practical tools that can inform a wide set of policymakers as well as private or community-based organisations.
  • The aim is for this toolkit to be a reference for any entity engaging in any work regarding public transport and urban mobility.
  • Not only does this tool kit provide many practical interventions, it also highlights certain thematic issues that one can encounter in this space.
  • Crucially, the point of this toolkit is not to make gender an additional concern for policy makers and developers.
  • Rather, it is to integrate a gender lens into everyday planning and development in order to make our cities safer and more accessible to women.

Sources – IE

Artemis 1 mission

Paper 1 – Geography

Why You Should Know?

NASA’s Orion capsule splashed down back to Earth on Sunday, December 11.
In detail –
  • The Orion’s landing in the Pacific Ocean marked the end of the inaugural Artemis 1 lunar mission exactly 50 years after Apollo’s final moon landing.
  • the “gumdrop-shaped Orion capsule, carrying a simulated crew of three mannequins wired with sensors”, landed in the Pacific Ocean, off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.
  • It also performed a new landing technique called ‘skip entry’, designed to help the spacecraft accurately splash down at the landing site.
  • Orion entered the Earth’s upper atmosphere and used the atmosphere and its lift to “skip” back outside the atmosphere only to re-enter once again.
About the trip of Artemis 1
  • In its 35-day mission, the Orion passed about 127 km above the moon in a fly-by.
  • Orion entered Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of over 40,000 kilometres per hour – more than 30 times the speed of sound – for a “fiery, 20-minute plunge to the ocean”, as described by Reuters.
  • Artemis 1 was essentially an experimental mission, to check if the capsule can be trusted to ferry humans to the moon and back in future missions.
  • Thus, safe re-entry was critical to the success of the whole initiative.
  • As it hurtled towards Earth, Orion experienced such friction and pressure that its forward-facing surface could have generated temperatures likely to reach around 3,000C.
  • After its success, a crewed Artemis II will go around the moon and back by 2024, followed in a few years by Artemis III, which will see astronauts, including a woman, land on the moon.
Aims of Artemis 1
  • Artemis 1 is being seen by NASA as a stepping stone to much greater things.
  • It is the first in a series of missions that are planned to not only take humans back to the Moon, but to also explore the possibilities of extended stay there, and to investigate the potential to use the Moon as a launch pad for deep space explorations.
  • This begins our path to a regular cadence of missions and a sustained human presence at the Moon for scientific discovery and to prepare for human missions to Mars.
  • The Artemis missions will build on the existing achievements of space technologies over the past few decades and lay the foundations for more complex and ambitious missions in the future.
  • It will work towards extracting the resources found on the Moon, building from the materials available there, and harnessing hydrogen or helium as energy sources.
How is Artemis 1 different from NASA’s earlier lunar missions?
  • although their objective is to ensure the return of humans to the Moon, the Artemis missions — named after Apollo’s mythological twin sister — are going to be qualitatively very different from the Apollo missions of 50 years ago.
  • The Moon landings of the 1960s and 1970s were guided by Cold War geo-political considerations, and the desire of the United States to go one up on the Soviet Union — which had scored by launching the first satellite, Sputnik, and the first spacecraft, Luna 2, to crash on to the lunar surface, and sending the first man to space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
  • So President John F Kennedy made a public announcement in 1961 that the US would put a man on the Moon before the decade was out.
  • That deadline was met, thanks to a massive mobilisation of resources towards that end.
  • But the technology ecosystem wasn’t fully ready yet to fully realise the potential of that monumental scientific breakthrough — and the astronauts who landed on the Moon could do little more than bring back samples to Earth for investigations.

Source – IE

Badri cow

Paper 3 – Biodiverstiy

Why Should You Know?

To increase the productivity of its indigenous petite Badri cow, that grazes on the medicinal herbs of the Himalayas, Uttarakhand is now planning for its genetic enhancement.
In details –
  • The officials of the animal husbandry department of the hill State proposed to use sex-sorted semen technology to improve production of Badri cattle.
  • They also proposed to opt for the embryo transfer method in order to produce more cattle of high genetic stock.
  • Apart from Badri ghee, which is available at the rate of ₹3,000 to ₹5,000 per kg, the State is also looking at the marketing potential of gaumutra ark (distilled cow urine), cow dung, and Panchgavya (the five products of the cow, including milk, curd, ghee, dung and urine).
About Badri Cow
  • The Badri cow is the first registered cattle breed of Uttarakhand which has been certified by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR).
  • The Badri breed derived its name from the holy shrine of Char Dham at Badrinath.
  • Possessing a balanced gait for the hills, this cattle breed is small in size with long legs and varied body colours – black, brown, red, white or grey.
  • This breed is comparatively more resistant to diseases, mostly due to its eating habits.
  • At present, Uttarakhand has around seven lakh Badri cows, among which are 4.79 lakh female cattle.
  • As the Badri cow grazes only on herbs and shrubs available in the mountains, its milk has rich medicinal content and high organic value.
  • The same is the USP of its produce for which its ghee is quite expensive.
  • Its urine has a high value due to its feeding and habitat.
  • The lactation milk yield ranges from 547 to 657 kg, with an average milk fat content of 4%.
  • Badri cow products are being sold online by Hetha Organics and Badri Ghee is sold by the Uttarakhand Cooperative Dairy Federation under their brand name ‘Anchal’.

Sources – TH

End-to-End Encryption

Paper 3 –Science & Technology

Why You Should Know?

Even though law enforcement agencies insist on encryption schemes which could enable ‘lawful access by design’, the move by messaging apps and technology giants to use end-to-end encryption to secure more user data seems to be only getting stronger.
In detail –
What is end-to-end encryption?
  • End-to-end encryption is a communication process that encrypts data being shared between two devices.
  • It prevents third parties like cloud service providers, internet service providers (ISPs) and cybercriminals from accessing data while it is being transferred.
  • The process of end-to-end encryption uses an algorithm that transforms standard text into an unreadable format.
  • This format can only be unscrambled and read by those with the decryption keys, which are only stored on endpoints and not with any third parties including companies providing the service.
  • End-to-end encryption has long been used when transferring business documents, financial details, legal proceedings, and personal conversations.
  • It can also be used to control users’ authorisation when accessing stored data, which seems to be what Apple intends to do.
Where is it used?
  • End-to-end encryption is used to secure communications. Some of the popular instant-messaging apps that use it are Signal, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Google messages.
  • However, instant messaging is not the only place where user data is protected using end-to-end encryption.
  • It is also used to secure passwords, protect stored data and safeguard data on cloud storage.
Why are tech companies using it?
  • Apple, on its blog, cited data breach research, “The Rising Threat to Consumer Data in the Cloud”, stating that the total number of data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2021.
  • The company shared that data of 1.1 billion personal records were exposed in 2021 alone and that it is trying to address this rising threat by implementing end-to-end encryption.
  • The focus on end-to-end encryption seems to stem from the company’s desire to position itself as a provider of secure data storage and transfer services.
  • End-to-end encryption is also seen as a technology that secures users’ data from snooping by government agencies, making it a sought-after feature by activists, journalists, and political opponents.
What does it mean for users?
  • End-to-end encryption ensures that user data is protected from unwarranted parties including service providers, cloud storage providers, and companies that handle encrypted data.
  • Apple on its support page shared that end-to-end encrypted data can only be decrypted by trusted devices where users are signed with their Apple ID.
  • No one else can access this data and it remains secure even in the case of a data breach in the cloud storage.
  • The data can only be accessed with access to the device passcode, password, recovery contact, or recovery key.
  • The technology also makes it harder for service providers to share user information from their services with authorities.
  • However, end-to-end encryption does not protect metadata, which includes information like when a file was created, the date when a message is sent and the endpoints between which data was shared.

Sources – TH

Lavani

Paper 1–Art & Culture

Why You Should Know?

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed deep condolence on the demise of famous Marathi Lavani singer Sulochana Tai Chavan.

In detail –
What is Lavani?
  • Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra, India.
  • According to a tradition, the word Lavani is derived from the word ‘lavanya’ which means ‘beauty’.
  • Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument.
  • Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm. Lavani has contributed substantially to the development of Marathi folk theatre.
  • In Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh it is performed by the female performers wearing nine-yard long sarees.
  • The songs are sung in a quick tempo.
Origin
  • Lavani dance originated from Maharashtra in 18th and 19th century. Lavani dancers were patronised by Maratha Lords and Kings.
  • Lavani dance was generally performed by Dhangars or Shepherd living in the Solapur, Maharashtra.
  • Although the beginnings of Lavani can be traced back to the 1560s, it came into prominence during the later days of the Peshwa rule.
Various Styles
  • Traditionally, this genre of folk dance deals with different and varied subject matters such as society, religion and politics.
  • The songs in ‘Lavani’ are mostly erotic in sentiment and the dialogues tend to be pungent in socio-political satire.
  • Originally, it was used as a form of entertainment and morale booster to the tired soldiers.
  • Lavani Songs, which are sung along with dance, are usually naughty and erotic in nature.
  • It is believed their origin is in the Prakrit Gathas collected by Hala.
  • The NirguniLavani (philosophical) and the ShringariLavani (sensual) are the two types. The devotional music of the Nirguni cult is popular all over Malwa.
  • Lavani developed into two distinct performances, namely PhadachiLavani and BaithakichiLavani.
  • The Lavani sung and enacted in a public performance before a large audience in a theatrical atmosphere is called PhadachiLavani.
  • And, when the Lavani is sung in a closed chamber for a private and select audience by a girl sitting before the audience, it came to be known as BaithakichiLavani.
  • Notebly it is a kind of Mujra strictly performed for men and away from the village with no access for ladies or families to watch.
  • The songs were written in sexually explicit double meaning.
  • There are also men that dance in lavani along with the ladies. They are the called nat (male dancer) usually the kinnars. These men dance in support with the lead dancer.
  • Lavani can also be termed as a romantic song sung by lady who is waiting for her lover to accept her, who longs for his love. Many Lavani dancers are from some castes of Maharashtra like Mahar Kolhati, and Matang.
Dress-up
  • The ladies that perform lavani wear a long sari length around 9 yards.
  • They form a bun (juda in Hindi or ambada in marathi) with their hair.
  • They wear heavy jewellery that includes Thushi means necklace, Bormaal, Pohehaar, Zumka means earrings, Ghungru ,kamarpatta (a belt at the waist), bangles , Sindoor etc.
  • They usually put a large bindi of dark red color on their forehead.
  • The sari they wear is called nauvari. The sari is wrapped and is more comfortable as compared to other sari types.

Sources – PIB

IND-INDO CORPAT

Paper 2 – International Relations

Why You Should Know?

The 39th edition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy is being conducted from 08 – 19 December 2022.
In detail –
  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette participated in the pre-deployment briefing at Belawan, Indonesia.
  • The CORPAT will be executed along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) from 15 to 16 December 2022 and will conclude with a debrief at Port Blair.
  • Along with INS Karmuk, L-58 (indigenously built Landing Craft Utility vessel) and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft will be participating in the CORPAT.
  • KRI Cut NyakDien, a KapitanPattimura Class Corvette, would represent the Indonesian side.
Background
  • As part of Government of India’s vision SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region), Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to enhance maritime security in the region.
  • India and Indonesia have been carrying out CORPATs twice a year since 2002, with an aim of keeping this vital part of the IOR safe and secure for commercial shipping, international trade and conduct of legitimate maritime activities.
  • CORPATs help build understanding and interoperability between navies, and facilitate institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy.
  • It further helps enhance the operational synergy by exchange of information for prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and for conduct of Search and Rescue (SAR) operations at sea.
  • India and Indonesia have traditionally enjoyed a close and friendly relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions.
  • The 39th edition of IND-INDO CORPAT seeks to bolster the maritime cooperation between the two navies and forge strong bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia.

Sources – PIB

FCBD meeting of G20

Paper 2 – International Relations

Why You Should Know?

The first G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies (FCBD) meeting is scheduled to be held during 13-15 December 2022 in Bengaluru.

In detail –
  • This meeting, which will mark the start of discussions on the Finance Track agenda under the Indian G20 Presidency, will be hosted jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The G20 Finance Track, led by Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of G20 countries, focuses on economic and financial issues.
  • It provides an effective forum for global economic discourse and policy coordination.
  • The First Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting will be held during 23-25 February 2023 in Bengaluru.
Area of discussion
  • The G20 Finance Track discusses key issues of relevance for the global economy, encompassing the global economic outlook, the international financial architecture, infrastructure development and financing, sustainable finance, global health, international taxation and financial sector issues, including financial inclusion.
  • In the Bengaluru meeting, discussions will focus on the agenda for the Finance Track under the Indian G20 Presidency.
  • This includes reorienting international financial institutions to meet the shared global challenges of the 21st century, financing cities of tomorrow, managing global debt vulnerabilities, advancing financial inclusion and productivity gains, financing for climate action and SDGs, a globally coordinated approach to unbacked crypto assets and advancing the international taxation agenda.
  • On the sidelines of the meeting, a panel discussion will be held on ‘Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks to Address Shared Global Challenges of the 21st Century’.
  • A seminar on the ‘Role of Central Banks in Green Financing’ will also be held.
  • The Indian G20 Presidency’s theme of ‘One Earth One Family, One Future’ will guide the G0 Finance Track discussions.
  • Approximately 40 meetings of the Finance Track will be held in several locations in India, which include meetings of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.
  • The discussions in the G20 Finance Track will ultimately be reflected in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration.
Background
  • India has assumed the G20 Presidency at a time of multiple challenges, which include scarring from the COVID-19 pandemic, sharpened geopolitical tensions, rising food and energy security concerns, growing debt distress, inflationary pressures, and monetary tightening, among others.
  • A key role of the G20 is to provide guidance in dealing with such challenges.
  • During India’s G20 Presidency, supporting the countries most in need and reflecting the concerns and aspirations of developing countries will be at the forefront of the G20’s efforts.
  • The Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India will steer the G20 Finance Track agenda in an inclusive manner aimed at addressing the global economic needs of today as well as preparing for a better tomorrow.
About the G20
  • The G20 is a formal organization of 20 major economies of the world, including 19 countries and 1 European Union.
  • The G-20 is seen as an extension of the G-7, a group of the world’s most powerful countries. The G-7 comprises France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and Canada.  In 1998, the group also joined Russia and it became G-8 from G-7.
  • Russia was separated from the group in 2014 due to the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and once again became the G-7. 
  • In 1999, the G-8 countries met in Cologne, Germany, in which asia’s economic crisis was discussed.
  • After this, it was decided to bring the countries with twenty powerful economies of the world on one platform. In December 1999, the G-20  group met for the first time in Berlin.
  • Later, the G-8  was recognized as a political and the G-20 as an economic forum.
Significance
  • The G20 is composed of most of the world’s largest economies, including both industrialized and developing nations, and accounts for around 80% of gross world product (GWP), 75–80% of international trade,
  • Two-thirds of the global population,and roughly half the world’s land area.
Function
  • It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters.
  • Instead, the G20 president is responsible for bringing together the G20 agenda in consultation with other members and in response to developments in the global economy.
  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
  • Every year when a new country takes on the presidency, it works hand in hand with the previous presidency and the next presidency and this is collectively known as TROIKA.
Member Countries
  • USA, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,  South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
  • Spain is a permanent guest who is specially invited every year. Every year, in addition to Spain, g20 guests include the president of ASEAN countries including two African countries (president of the African Union and representative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development) and one country (sometimes more than one)  invited by the president of the G20.

Sources – PIB

Malampandaram tribe

Paper 1 – Geography

Why You Should Know?

An Indigenous community of Sabarimala forests- “Malampandaram tribe” keeps pilgrimage trail litter-free.
In detail –
  • The pilgrimage season at Sabarimala also marks a crunch time for the forests around the hillock.
  • Pilgrims keep moving along the roads here without a break, the impact of which can be far from ethereal.
  • But thanks to a community initiative by the Forest department, an indigenous community collective is helping the authorities keep the forest roads here clean.
  • The collective, called eco-guards, comprises about 25 members including women from the Malampandaram tribe, a nomadic community living inside the Sabarimala forests.
  • Deployed between Laha and Chalakkayam along the main trunk road to Sabarimala, they keep walking constantly along the route throughout the day and collect plastic waste littered on both sides of the road.
  • The eco-guards also assist the elephant squads of the Forest department to prevent the wild elephants from entering the road here and block traffic.
About Malampandaram tribe
  • The MalaiPandaram or otherwise termed as Hill Pandaram is a scheduled tribe. They are settled along the Pamba river, Achankoil river and in Pathanapuram and near Shencotta ranges in Kollam District of Kerala.
  • They are mainly distributed in the high range areas of Kollam and Pathanamthitta Districts.
  • The 2011 Census recorded their population as 2,422. In the Travancore region they have a patios referred by others as Pandaram Basha.
  • With others they converse in Malayalam and educated use the Malayalam script for writing.
  • The MalaiPandaram’s economic life is overwhelmingly forest based.
  • They are landless. Presently, the government have allotted plots of forest land to groups in which they have erected their huts and in the remaining area some individuals engage in cultivation, mainly tapioca.
  • The major traditional occupation is hunting and gathering.
  • The Palakkad branch continue to be engaged in their traditional occupation of making and selling of rudrakshamala, tulasimala, glass beads necklace and bangles.
  • Some of them have traditional knowledge in herbal medicines. The medicinal herbs are collected from forests of Sabarimalai, Irali (Idukki) and Wayanad.
  • The MalaiPandaram follow Hinduism. Satha or Ayyappan is their principal deity.
  • Most of their settlements in Travancore are also located near the Sastha temples like Aryankavu, Achankovil and Sabarimala.

Sources – TH

Kochi-Muziris Biennale-2022

Paper 1–Art & Culture

Why You Should Know?

Postponed twice due to the pandemic, as the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale opens on December 12
In detail –
About Kochi-Muziris Biennale
  • It will have on display the works of over 90 artists from across the globe in varied media.
  • In its tenth year, curated by Singapore-based Indian-origin artist Shubigi Rao, the central exhibition of the showcase will centre on the theme “In Our Views Flow Ink and Fire”.
  • Spread across multiple venues in Kochi, the four-month-long celebration of art is expected to attract tourists from the world over, and is scheduled to see several discussions, performances and film screenings.
  • As it opens its doors, we look at the history of art Biennales and their significance.
What are art biennales?
  • An international large-scale showcase of art that takes place every two years at a particular site, biennales are usually non-commercial enterprises – unlike art fairs – that centre around a curatorial theme.
  • One of the most prestigious and oldest biennales in the world, the Venice Biennale was established through a resolution by the city council in 1893 to celebrate national artistic talent.
  • Coinciding with the silver anniversary of King Umberto and Margherita of Savoy, it had in attendance artists, critics, curators and patrons. With its rising popularity, the 1900s saw the emergence of Biennales across the world, with Bienal de São Paulo being instituted as the first non-European biennial in 1951.
  • In 2009, a global Biennale Foundation was established with an “aim to create a platform for dialogue, networking, and knowledge sharing among contemporary art biennials around the world”.
  • It lists a directory of over 200 biennales that are held at present.
The significance of art biennales
  • Though most biennales do not allow for direct purchase of art, an invitation and participation in the global showcase is often viewed as a validation of an artist’s work, and an assertion that they are being noticed.
  • Frequented by the powerful and important in art, a Biennale participation can open opportunities for future museum exhibitions, gallery representation and acquisitions.
  • Additionally, biennales, often named after the host city, become a reason for local pride, promoting cultural tourism and generating revenue through visitors.
History of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale
  • An artist-led endeavour, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale was founded in 2011 by Kerala-born, Mumbai-based artists Bose Krishnamachari and RiyasKomu with an aim to “create a platform that will introduce contemporary, global visual art theory and practice to India.”
  • Borrowing from the location, it sought to “create a new language of cosmopolitanism and modernity that is rooted in the lived and living experience of this old trading port, which, for more than six centuries, has been a crucible of numerous communal identities.
  • Kochi is among the few cities in India where pre-colonial traditions of cultural pluralism continue to flourish.”

Source – IE


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