Riyas Komu’s stirring installation at NGMA

Step into NGMA’s Jana Shakti a tribute to PM Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat 100 episodes and you walk right into Riyas Komu’s stupendous installation Swachh Bharat. Created of two monumental legs with muscles intact and a series of elements of faces of Indian history in the largesse of Indian icons Komu gives us a powerful matrix of the developmental aspects of Swachh Bharat Abihyan in the light of Mahatma Gandhi’s evolution.

Milestones of memory

Recyled wood and materials all become milestones of memory of the experience of reading history and creating a vernacular wall of wooden bricks with Indian alphabets in languages all becoming a small wall atop of which stands the statuesque Mohenjo Daro girl as a miniature. He recreates the small 10-and-a-half centimetre long lost wax bronze figurine of the Harappan/Indus Valley Civilisation .Komu brings back leaves of Indian history, found by the archaeologist D.R. Sahni in 1926-27 in a broken down house in the ‘ninth lane’ of the area designated as ‘HR’ of the Indus valley citadel of Mohenjodaro,this small black prototype talks to us in hushed silence.

What a mind Komu has, he creates a tapestry of the translation of time and its multiple references.

When he had his solo show at Vadehras Delhi  in January 2018 he said: “ My art is a reflection of our times – it intends to document and potentially question how we are developing as a civilisation.”Komu’s words hold through the corridors at Jaipur House as they create memoirs of India’s agrarian masses as well as the many tales of the journey of the Indian farmers.When he creates littles vignettes of Nandlal Bose’s woodcut of Gandhi as all as another etched drawing of Ambedkar and many other faces you know that he is a master at juxtapositions but his language is subtle.

Time present and time past 

At the NGMA you have walk around and into the spaces within his installation to understand his many predicaments as well as his objectivity in looking at Indian history through an artist’s eyes. Indeed Komu becomes a historian became he brings alive TS Eliot when he said:

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

Pensive portraits

In the manner of revisiting Eliot’s Wasteland Komu juxtaposes the present and the past. He places the figure of Gandhi and other  portraits in dialogue with that of Ambedkar and others and frames an interaction between two apparently disparate ideologies in the scope of multiple frames that have loomed into the prism of the present. His ability to correlate the choreography is a stirring proposition.This is not a beautiful installation it is one that should stir the echoes of sadness and solitude and the cries of those who passed on being unheard. In a subtle way there are so many questions that he asks, each facet references a key event that has impacted the social fabric of India.

Komu has always in the past created works that are born of a collective memory. These are not personal they are not private but it they are memory leaves from a discourse that positions India as a country of great power as well as unity in diversity.When you look at the two large legs you reflect on the fact that when you perceive of the installation , footfalls echo in your memory.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.