Riyas KomuRiyas Komu

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Riyas Komu was born in 1971 in Kerala, and moved to Mumbai in 1992 to study literature. Dropping out during his final year, Komu eventually obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Fine Art from the Sir J. J. School of Art in 1997 and 1999 respectively. Since his graduation, Komu has been constantly asserting and pushing himself with a strong body of work.

The artist’s oeuvre, spanning several different media and genres, is particularly noticed for its strong political overtones. His paintings, to put it in his own words, carry a protest symbol one way or the other. He has remarked, “I strongly feel it is my duty to be political. I believe that my paintings should look back at the viewer rather than just tell a story or hang on the wall.”

Influenced by his father’s political leanings and his own brief associations with political student groups, Komu is keen on using his work to “ring alarm bells” about the explosive urban situation he encountered in Mumbai. His body of work references the paradoxes of the urban situation, where on one hand, there is glamour, and on the other, abject poverty. Creating his pieces with equal doses of compassion and cynicism, Komu’s work reflects both hope and dejection – a tribute to the spirit of all those who continue to survive the city and its paradoxes.

Some of Komu’s recent solo shows include ones of his photographic works at the Guild Gallery, Mumbai, in 2008 and 2005, and two exhibitions held at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, in 2005 and 2002. His works have also been featured in group exhibitions held at Saffronart and the Guild Gallery, Mumbai, in 2004; the Harmony Show, Mumbai, in 2003, where he won the ‘Excellence Award for Emerging Artist of the Year’; the Fine Art Company, Mumbai, in 2002; the Guild Gallery, Mumbai, in 2001 and 2002; Lakeeren and Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2000; and the National Gallery of Modern Art annual shows in 1999 and 2000. In 1997, Komu received the two year long K. K. Hebbar Foundation Society Scholarship, and has also been honoured with the Bombay Art Society Award in 1996 and the Maharashtra State Art Prize in 1995. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.

Artworks

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