Kochi Biennale: Air India unveils Kozhikode artist’s tail art on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Air India officials, while unveiling the artwork, called it “a priceless souvenir of a beautiful partnership between art and aviation”.

BySreerag PS

Published Jan 28, 2023 | 3:54 PM Updated Jan 28, 2023 | 6:29 PM

Kochi Biennale: Air India unveils Kozhikode artist’s tail art on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Taking Kochi-Muziris Biennale to the skies, Air India’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft VT-AXN will feature artwork by Smitha GS, an artist based in Kozhikode, Kerala.

An acrylic painting by Smitha was featured in the ongoing art exhibition at Fort Kochi.

After unveiling the adaptation of the original work, Air India called it “a priceless souvenir of a beautiful partnership between art and aviation”.

The unveiling 

“Today, we unveiled the tail of our Boeing 737-800 aircraft VT-AXN, which has been transformed into a 25-foot-tall canvas for Kochi-Muziris Biennale as part of our association with Asia’s biggest contemporary art festival,” said an Air India statement.

The new tail of the VT-AXN Boeing aircraft was unveiled by Kerala’s Minister for Public Works and Tourism PA Muhammed Riyas in an event held in Thiruvananthapuram.

Aloke Singh, CEO, Air India Express and President, Air Asia India, Bose Krishnamachari, President of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and artist Smitha GS were present at the event.

Artistic love at first sight

Smitha, who had won a state award from Lalit Kala Academy for her artwork in 2016, spoke to South First about her artwork.

Smitha said that Air India officials had shown interest in one of her artworks when it was featured in ‘Lokame Tharavadu’ — an event organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation in Alappuzha. However, the painting was already sold by the time Air India showed interest.

“Air India officials had visited the exhibition and they initially wanted the rights of that particular painting. However, the painting was already sold. Then I informed them that two of my artworks have been exhibited in this edition of the Biennale. They arrived at the Biennale venue and loved my work,” said Smitha.

The officials, after reviewing her artwork, suggested that the artwork could be incorporated as tail art for their aircraft. An agreement was later drawn between Kochi Biennale Foundation and Air India.

Also Read: Abhijit Banerjee: Art is important for developing nations

Of happy memories

Smitha's artwork on the tail of an Air India Boeing 737-800 aircraft. (Air India/Twitter)

Smitha’s artwork on the tail of an Air India Boeing 737-800 aircraft. (Air India/Twitter)

According to Smitha, the painting is all about her childhood memories, mainly those with her father who used to make toys out of coconut leaves for her.

“The imagery of the artwork is more reminiscent of my childhood when I used to play with toys made of coconut leaves,” recallled Smitha.

She explained, “My father used to make those toys for me when I was young. I relate the painting to my father’s love for me. The colourful trees, according to me, signify the emotions of human beings, I chose those colours accordingly.”

When asked about the consistent use of big canvases for her paintings, she said that she uses a big canvas to inculcate all the spontaneous ideas that come to her while drawing.

She added that it took her three months to complete the painting.