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We need to take art to panchayat offices too: Co-founder of  Kochi Biennale Riyas Komu

It’s not only about putting art in five-star hotels, we also need art in panchayat offices, says co-founder of  Kochi Biennale Riyas Komu. There is a need to start accommodating it in public spaces, t

Published: 07th March 2018 10:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2018 05:26 AM   |  A+A-

Riyas Komu, Co Founder, Kochi Muzriz Biennale

Express News Service

BENGALURU : In an attempt to take art outside museums and galleries to public spaces, gallery g is providing an opportunity to young artists to showcase their work at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bengaluru, this August. When founder and CEO of gallery g Gitanjali Maini was approached to curate art for this project, she chose Riyas Komu to spearhead it. “Riyas Komu is the number one curator, according to me, because his bank of upcoming artists is high. The brief that was sent to us was to give as many upcoming artists a chance. Hence, we chose Riyas,” says Gitanjali.Here’s an excerpt from the conversation we had with artist and curator Riyas Komu:

This is going to be your first commercial curatorial project. What made you take it up?
I wouldn’t say these are commercial spaces in that sense. If you look at what cities are doing, in Mumbai right now they are interacting with contemporary artists and converting their premises into museum spaces. There is a growing phenomenon of looking at art very seriously. Galleries have always supported such projects. But this time they wanted to increase the profile little more- have a curatorial approach and storytelling and also help the youngsters. In that sense, I would say it’s a tradition of the way art is collected historically. Eventually, these are the institutions that have money and can provide for it, you should look at this as a site that is available, as an organisation that has the intent and the interest in 
art, to build an archive of the young generation.

Are you looking for only contemporary artists for this project?
Few things are there, this project looks at the city of Bengaluru, its history, its cosmopolitan legacy in one way and also how an economic shift has happened in the city. There are notations in the project which is discussed very briefly with the artist. It’s a mix of things coming together, that will be able to tell the story of national diversity in one way and at the same time focus on Bengaluru as a city. 

Most of your art has a political and social context to it, which gives way to a political dialogue. Do you intend to initiate a political dialogue in this space?
Not really, this is not a personal space. This is a project that is trying to accommodate different languages of young contemporary artists as part of a dialogue that takes place on a premise like this. I’m not bringing in any kind of conceptual framework which is my own in this project at all. I’m just putting up a collection together. 

Do you intend to reach out to any particular audience?
There is a limitation you see in such spaces. You will also see this limitation in gallery art of modern art unless you campaign it in such a way that people will come and see. If you have that intent you 
can attract people to any space. But in a five-star hotel that has a completely different style of accommodation, art kind of becomes a complementary factor. If the intent is strong, it is also possible to convert art into a museum. 

If these kinds of projects are strategised very well it can bring confidence in youngsters – their work is getting collected and is getting support. But I think it will still take time. Art makes a difference to people who are put up there. It will take time, I’m not expecting people to specifically come to the spot to see the art. This is art for the people who will be putting up there. 

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