KASHI ART CAFE
Fort Kochi, Kerala, 1997:
In 1997 Dorrie Younger and Anoop Scaria established Kashi Art Café in a heritage Dutch house in scenic Fort Kochi. Comprising a café, a gallery and with time, a residency space as well, Kashi did much to invigorate the art scene of Kochi in the years prior to the establishment of the biennale. This was largely due to the vision of its free-spirited and pioneering founders. This couple brought residencies to not only Kochi but also to other parts of Kerala as they set up a residency space and studio in Kakkathuruthu, in Alappuzha district.
Anoop Scaria’s vision to transform Kochi into a hub for art became a reality through many years of consistent and deeply personal engagement with the local community and adopting an artist centric approach. Kashi fostered vibrant informal conversations on art, often over food, and supported artists at a time when galleries were not yet common. Infact, many artists recollect the warm hospitality and facilities to further their work they enjoyed here. Kashi Art Residency was a formalisation of this vision to support and sustain artists, an engagement that continues even now under the new management that took over in 2012. With an unerring eye for identifying talent through the residency and the Kashi Award for Visual Art, Kashi helped launch many artists’ careers. Just as the Kashi Art Residency was, and continues to remain, one of the most sought-after residencies in India, artists associated with Kashi have become nationally and internationally renowned.