Survival, the very word represents the inner urge in many of us in these troubled times. Be it the pandemic or the chaotic political landscape or the lingering signals of an approaching climate apocalypse, we are on the lookout for a way forward. This is the background when ‘Lokame Tharavadu’, the multi-venue, multi-artist exhibition opens its doors for the public, once again. Having taken birth in the pandemic era, this exhibition has seen multiple waves of openings and closures, parallel to the wave-like attack of the coronavirus and its mutant variants. Originally planned for an early-2020 opening, the show was hit by successive lockdowns. But, unlike many other ventures that withered in the pandemic heat, this first-of-its-kind art show has survived the mayhem, and is reopening for viewers this August 2021.
It may be ironic that the pandemic, which demands social distancing to stay safe, has cemented the philosophical idea of humans across the globe constituting one giant family; no society is spared by the virus and neither can they singularly escape from its clutches. As such, this new challenge demands a collective response. ‘Lokame Tharavadu’ assumes significance in this backdrop. The curator, Bose Krishnamachari has woven this contemporary art exhibition around the concept of home and surroundings. The title of this exhibition, that the world is one family, is drawn from a poem of celebrated Malayalam writer Vallathol Narayana Menon. The title carries multiple dimensions and is ever-relevant. As a society that sends its members around the world in search of livelihood opportunities, Kerala has made its presence felt in fields ranging from science and arts to politics and business. Like any professionals, artists from Kerala, too, have made cities across the world their new home. Rightly identifying this global presence of Malayalis, ‘Lokame Tharavadu’ brings as many as 267 Malayali artists from around the world together at two historic towns of Kerala — Alappuzha and Cochin — both having a chequered history of international trade and cultural exchanges.