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Riyas Komu

First at Khoj
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Born Kerala, Riyas Komu is a critically acclaimed multi-media artist invested in reviving art education and developing art infrastructure in India. Several of his works draw energy from the social movements and political events of his times, reflecting primarily upon issues like violence, conflict, or displacement. His body of work is a part of the broader narrative of construction and dismantling of the artistic influences of the society we live in. His key works focus on the political and cultural history of Kerala. In 2007, he was one of two artists from India selected for the 52nd Venice Biennale by curator Robert Storr. Later, he went on to represent the Iranian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Komu also participated in the Jogja Biennale, Indonesia, 2011.


He has created significant solo projects focussing on football that include Mark Him First Half & Second Half, and Left Legs with the Iraqi National Football Team (2008/2010); Subrato to César, 2010, reflecting on the current issues of Indian Football at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, and Beyond Gods, retrieving the multiculturalism of French football at Centre Pompidou, Paris, as part of their ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay’ exhibition. Some of his other solo exhibitions include On International Works’ Day, Gandhi from Kochi at Kashi Art Gallery, 2015, Kochi; Subrato To César, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, 2010; Related List, Bodhi, Berlin, Germany, 2008; Safe To Light, Azad Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2007; Condition /Duroohatha, Kashi Art Gallery, Kochi, 2012; The Third Day, Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, 2004; Faith Accompli, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, 2005; Unconditional, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, 2002.


Some of his group exhibitions are India – Lado A Lado, [India – Side by Side], for SESC Belenzinho and Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, curated by Terezo de Arruda; India Awakens – Under the Banyan Tree, Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria; Midnight’s Children, Studio la Città, Verona, Italy; Indian Popular Culture… and Beyond: The Untold (the Rise of) Schisms, curated by Shaheen Merali, Comunidad de Madrid; Threshold: Forging Narratives in South Asian Contemporary Art, Aicon Gallery, New York, USA; Indian Popular Culture and beyond Alcala ’31, Madrid, Spain; India Crossing, Studio la Città, Verona, Italy; Everything, Willem Baars Project, Amsterdam; Frontlines: Notations from the Contemporary Indian Urban, Bodhi Berlin, Berlin; Swarovski Museum show, Austria; On Difference #2 (represented Korea), Wurtt. Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany; Art on the Beach, Made by Indians, St Tropez by Gallery Enrico Navarra, Paris; India!, Gallerie Helene Lamarque, Paris.


His works were recently showed at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Oslo, Norway, 2009); the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai, China, 2009) and the Gwangju Emerging Asian Artists Exhibition (Gwangju, Korea, 2010). He also co-curated the first ever international football film festival in India at the Goa International Film Festival and Trivandrum International Film festivals in 2012. He is the co-founder of the Kochi Muziris Biennale in India as well as the director of programmes for the Kochi Biennale Foundation, developing projects focussing on art education in India. In this capacity, he has also initiated the Children’s Biennale, Students’ Biennale and Artists’ Cinema and a few other projects. He is the curator of the Young Subcontinent Project that brings together young artists from across the subcontinent at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa, and the Founder of URU Art Harbour, a cultural hub, in Kochi.


Komu lives and works in Mumbai.