Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we discuss the Riyas Komu and the #MeToo issue at Kochi-Muziris Biennale
Another one bites the dust. Since Komu, artist and co-founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale has been recently accused of sexual misconduct. Information of the incident was broadcasted anonymously through the Instagram account ‘Scene and Heard’. The incident allegedly took place in 2015.
Subsequent to the #MeToo allegations, Riyas Komu posted what some deem a half-baked apology on his Instagram account. He said:
“In response to an allegation raised against me on an Instagram on 16 October 2018, I would like to state the following: I’m deeply upset that this incident has been understood and presented in this manner,” he wrote. “However, as the person has expressed hurt, I would like here to offer my apologies and I am opening myself to the possibility of a conversation.”
Pending further investigation, the Biennale Foundation confirmed Komu’s suspension from his managerial position.
“…Riyas Komu has stepped down from all his management positions connected to the Biennale till the matter is resolved. The Kochi Biennale Foundation is responsible for the safety and security of its community, and will take all measures to ensure this as we work together in making the Biennale.”
Toppling the Institutional Patriarchy
While discussing #MeToo at TARQ, we questioned institutional motivations behind suspending those accused of sexual misconduct. While actions may be driven by ethics or social pressure, the response welcome. For years, men in positions of power have abused women. Victim shaming and an unsupportive legal system have only encouraged them to continue. In both domestic and professional settings, women are perceived as easy targets. And are preyed upon by vulturous men in positions of authority.
Being a social-media driven movement, #MeToo has shattered barriers that no anti-harrasment protest in the past has been able to. United in their crusade, women are no longer afraid to publicly call out their offenders. Even when they are influential people such as Riyas Komu.