It’s December, which means that Kochi is blisteringly hot. Yet it’s a great time to visit as the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is underway. For three and a half months every two years, Fort Kochi, the historic and pretty part of the city, becomes a giant art gallery. The Biennale is spread across several venues in Fort Kochi and neighbouring areas Mattancherry and Ernakulam and you can walk to most places. Essentially, a Biennale holiday involves hopping from venue to venue and taking coffee and lunch breaks at Kochi’s many charming eateries. If you’re planning a trip, here’s what you need to know.

The Biennale runs for three-and-a-half months until March 29, 2019.

Each edition has a curator. This time, the curator is Delhi-based artist Anita Dube.

The Biennale has works by 95 artists from 36 countries.

The theme for this edition is, ‘possibilities for a non-alienated life’. What does that mean? Dube explains here.

Some of the major Indian artists showing their works are Anju Dodiya, Chitra Ganesh, Jitish Kallat, Nilima Sheikh, Shilpa Gupta and Sunil Gupta.

Aspinwall House, Kochi-Muziris Biennale
Photo: Anto Frames.

There are ten main venues in Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam. The chief among these is Aspinwall House, a sprawling sea-facing building that, in the nineteenth century, used to be the office of an English trading company founded by John H. Aspinwall.

There are nine collateral shows in smaller venues. While these are part of the Biennale, their themes differ from the main project.

A short walk from Aspinwall House is Cabral Yard, where talks, performances, book launches and film screenings will be held. Follow the schedule of events here.

Tickets are priced at Rs 100 per day. Each ticket allows three visits to Aspinwall House and one visit to each of the other venues. If you’ve been thinking of contributing to a worthy cause, look no further. Buy a Rs 5,000 donor pass, which allows you access to all venues throughout the event and, in the process, keep the Biennale alive.

There’s lots to do in Kochi in between browsing art shows, from heritage tours to cooking classes. See here and here for activities.