Biennale “Sea Of Pain” Review

KOCHI: The ‘Sea Of Pain‘ installation at Kochi-Muziris Biennale here gains global attention in the backdrop of US President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.


The installation which contains a poem speaks about Galip Kurdi, the elder brother of Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi who drowned in Mediterranean sea. The installation is made in a hall at Aspinwall house, the main venue of Biennale. The poem is shown on the one end of the hall and visitors should walk about 100 m through water which is knee-deep. The poem was penned by Chilean poet Raul Zurita.

Foreign tourists who are visiting biennale finds that this is the best reply  given to authorities who are banning the entry of people based on religion. According to Sarah Jones, an Australian , “Art takes the centre-stage to fight against bans like this, and this installation speaks louder”. Another tourist Oliver William said that this installation will make people aware about the sorrows of refugees and governments of the world should find a solution to end refugee crisis and should open boundaries to refugees.

Zurita is trying to connect with the readers emotionally and physically in this poem. Mourning the death of Galip , the poet touch reader’s mind emotionally by asking “ Don’t you listen, Don’t you look?, Don’t you feel me?. Poet states at the end of the poem that “I’am not Galip Kurdi’s father, but he is my son”.

According to Director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale Foundation, Bose Krishnamachari, “The installation tries to convey the meaning through different mediums and when one reads it and feels the coolness of water, he will be immersed to the poet’s mind”.

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