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BC as a space for art-practice is conceived as a house that hosts many ideas and point of views, a venue for arts to fuse and multiply.

Debtors' Prison

DEBTORS' PRISON, Graffity work near Fort Kochi Boat Jetty

Aravind Raju,
Biju R,
Irshad Mavayil,
Muhammed Riyas,
Shanto Antony
Prashant K V


In some countries in old times, debtors had their own prisons. They, with their large families of little children, stayed inside long crowded halls for days and nights for years, more easily dead than released. Large loops of chains and iron bars held them to walls or machines that pulled off muscles. Their crime was peculiar; they failed the standards of civilization even though they had hurt no one. Money, the very idea which they were unable to comprehend, had left them to the mercy of nasty overfed policemen.

Here, this tiny town Fort Kochi has served many roles; a commercial capital to a discarded memory in the history of wars. It has seen many kings, merciful and not. It has come to be known around the world as one-of–those-places-to-see which bears too many stories of the past. But nothing yet has changed the fate of the people who have lived and died here, for centuries.

The natives of Fort Kochi go fishing on crowded early-morning boats to the inner seas. They pull the handcarts of rice and spices at the bazaar. They lay bricks for each and every new building. They make Fort Kochi’s heart. Yet they are invisible in the stories we hear about.

They with their large families of little children have always lived in the tiny one-room houses overlapping each-other’s, in the inside lanes by mosquito-bearing canals. They have always borne their lives like sentences in a prison, for having failed some standards of civilization, and the idea of money.

The work

Seven young artists have worked together on Debtors' Prison for about three months, after negotiating with each other on ideas and concepts and successfully bringing their visions to the same plane. Their work has been successful in communicating with the people of Fort Kochi and outsiders alike and BC considers this the success of our work and effort.

BC Collective’s Debtors’ Prison is a meticulously detailed fairytale, an elaborately worded legend, in which the protagonists are Fort Kochi’s own. They have lived here the whole of their lives and will die in this quasi-prison, walls of money will always exclude them: They are saint-like and beautiful, for having preserved their warmth and love for the world even after a thousand and one nights of outsider invasions such as those of mosquitoes.

The island’s own mosquitoes are more than a metaphor: They are a reality and a souvenir, embodying the entirety of sensual tortures. They teach helplessness, they house malicious micro-organisms. Mosquitoes are only a sign of blindness that blankets Fort Kochi and its people when a very few of the same island live peacefully.

We see the angels on trees, scared to descend even when the heavy skies could pour down any minute. A man tries to flee the extensive gang of mosquitoes yet is savoured by them. Ships that sail from far and near, cats and stray dogs, the black and yellow autorikshaws, cocks fighting and goats grunting, the many buildings abandoned by people who could not bear it anymore, the pelicans and the eagles, all of them play a part story of Fort Kochi.


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