India's sporting legend P T Usha is the Goodwill Ambassador of the 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB).
Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) co-founder Riyas Komu, while announcing the decision, noted that the sprinting champion has been a modern-era pioneer in convincing her country about the essence and elementary significance of speed and time. "In that context, there is nobody better suited to spread the message and philosophy of the 2014-15 biennale than her," he added.
The interconnection between time and space within the planetary movement vis-a-vis Kochi as the observation deck is the theme of the upcoming biennale, which will be inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on December 12. The 108-day extravaganza features works by 94 artists from India and 30 other countries.
Accepting KBF's invitation, Usha, 50, said she was delighted to be the Goodwill Ambassador of the KMB. "As a sportsperson, it is an honour to be a part of the family of world-famous and talented artists," added the 'Payyoli Express' who runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy in upstate Kozhikode district, having won medals in four Asian Games from 1982.
KBF President Bose Krishnamachari hailed Usha as a sporting icon who influenced a generation of Indians. "Her legacy surpasses all spheres of society. We are grateful to Usha and her family for accepting our invitation to become a part of the biennale family," he added.
Komu noted that Usha, who is associated with Indian athletics since 1979, has been the pride of her native Kerala and the entire nation. "It is only appropriate that an exemplary athlete espoused the country's first biennale which is one of the biggest showpiece events in contemporary global art," he said.
"The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an important socio-cultural festival. We don't want to limit its sphere to art. Usha is a vital part of the memory of the nation. She is always remembered as a young girl who ran races to make all of us proud," Komu said. "By becoming the Goodwill Ambassador, she keeps the biennale young and vibrant."