Riyas Komu
  Preview: 23rd December 2007

6.30 - 8.30

On view till : 6th January 2008,
10.30 am to 6.30 pm




A Project by Riyas Komu

At The Guild  - 23rd December 07 – 6th January 08 

The Guild Art Gallery is delighted to present the recent works of Riyas Komu. Born in Kerala in 1971, Komu received his B.F.A and M.F.A from Sir J.J. School Of Art with painting as his specialization. In 1992 he came to Mumbai - a city which was always about ‘dreams’, about ‘making it big'   and the surrounding static of media outpourings became a fecund source of inspiration. In his artistic journey he has included sculpture, photography and video- installations to the wide spectrum of his works.

 His major recent participations in 2007 include   Venice Biennale curated by Robert Storr; ‘Continuity and Transformation’ Museum Show, Exhibition promoted by Provincia di Milano, Italy; Amsterdam Art Fair and  Paris Photo Show amongst others.

 Solo Exhibitions Include 2006: Systematic Citizen, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi.2006: Faith Accompli, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai.2005: The Third Day, Lalit Kala Academy, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi presented by Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai.2005: Grass, photography show, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai. 2003: Sarasu, photography show on Raja Ravi Verma Press, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai. 2002: UNCONDITIONAL, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai 2002 - 2003: AMBULANCE, Renaissance Art Gallery, Bangalore.

I have not known a greater joy than that of watching guys in shorts kicking a ball around. I have done the feetie myself a number of times. But there has always been a gnawing feeling in the back of my head that kept on saying: the best of goals are not always 'the best of goals'. So I set one for myself — to use art to redeem the place of our footballers in the society, in our history. Therefore, MARK HIM. 

Mark Him, for he is poised, yet not preferred. Mark Him, for he is persistent, yet preordained to relegation. Mark Him, for he deserves a better destiny, a more attractive destination. Why are our football stars cloud-capped?

It would take a lot of jogging of our brains to recall somebody called Sailendra Nath (Sailen) Manna. Well, he was the former Indian captain who fetched the country a host of international laurels including the first Asian Games gold in 1951. In his time he was considered one of the 10 best football captains in the world by the English Football Association. Our football legacy does not just come from such individual glories. The Durand Cup, the oldest football tournament in India, is also the 3rd oldest football tournament in the world, only the English FA-Cup and Scottish Cup are older than it. It was started by Sir Mortimer Durand at Simla in 1888. League football was being played in Kolkata long before Real Madrid or even before the world governing body FIFA even existed. But how many people take the trouble to go and watch Durand Cup matches? And why should they? The people featured are not their favourite sporting heroes. In fact they would hardly recognise any one of them. Why have things come to such a pass? Because in global info-fueled capitalism "the society of the spectacle", as dubbed by French Situationist Guy Debord, thrives on the Gala Event. And the National Football league, Santhosh Trophy or Federation Cup is anything but. Its a drab event played on dirty pitches.

Despite being a modicum of athletic ability, parents would not want their kids to take up the game full time. There is hardly any monies involved. It is the game of the poor where players don't enjoy five-star facilities or have the possibility of turning into a national celebrity overnight.
When even the sports press is hard pressed to find space for Indian football, there's no hope they're going to make any sense of the coming apocalypse. And that naiveté is reflected in the innocence with which these young players have posed for the camera. An innocence underneath which lies the unrecognised layers of grit, determination and resolve to continue playing and not give up the game despite its inherent vagaries and uncertainties. Despite their forlorn existence denied of a comfort zone that sportsperson elsewhere enjoy they have stuck to it, or the football has stuck their feet.

If one were to step out of our abodes onto the streets right now, one would easily come across people wearing Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United jerseys. But an East Bengal or Mahindra United shirt will be hard to spot.

These players have chosen this sport because it is one in which everyone can compete irrespective of their backgrounds. Which explains its popularity worldwide. It was Swami Vivekanda who said, You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of the Bhagavad Gita. Which is also why every single one of these players deserve more attention and greater glory, may be a heaven on earth. All he asks for is a ball at his feet. That ball could be the world. If he gets that he might be unstoppable. So Mark Him with respect in your mindscape. Let's celebrate their difficult choices and mourn our majestic ignorance. It's time for the chorus: Bol futbol.

Riyas Komu lives and works in Mumbai.


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