Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FORT COCHIN: The Melting pot of culture


FORT COCHIN: The Melting pot of culture

Fort Kochi, a multicultural Indo-European heritage due to successive colonial rules is a fascinating blend of cultures. Narrow lanes, pleasantly smelling spice market streets, antique shops, a synagogue, a Portuguese palace, India's first European church, a pot pourri mix of various architectural styles, a sunset view of the sea, Chinese fishing nets and passing ships. A pleasant, dreamy, romantic decor, suggesting a setting for an artist colony with a bohemian touch, which one somehow does not associate with Ernakulum. In recent years the art scene has developed rapidly with the appearance of several art galleries and art caf├ęs which try to promote an art culture. Performing arts are represented by the Kathakali shows and some other recent initiatives of some galleries.
A recent development is the Greenix village : a large facility, intended for tourists, students and researchers, dedicated to presenting various facets of Kerala’s culture and ethnic traditions. The complex has a multiplex of two theatres for dance performances and a cultural museum as well as a Kalaripayattu training centre, an art gallery restaurant, and a yoga centre.
Just like Greenwich village one could dream of this area becoming a place of emergence of alternative, innovative and experimental - avant garde- art forms be it in painting, sculpture, theater or dance. Bit of a wishful thinking, but it could happen, with some effort already done by some and if malls and skyscrapers don't crush it, a sort of David and Goliath or Ram and Ravan battle. Unfortunately in real life the heavy handed too frequently win.
But perhaps you can dream about visiting some of the existing arty spots like the Cochin Art Gallery in Princess Street, Kashi Art Cafe in a restored Dutch Heritage house on Burgher Street or Dravidian art cafe, located at Kalvatty near Fort Kochi.