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Riyas Komu: Tragic Day Optimist

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Riyas Komu
Tragic Day Optimist ⁠
Oil on Canvas
72 x 54”
(The work will be shipped without a frame rolled in a tube). 
Curatorial note: Komu’s iconic visage of a migrant worker suffering the vagaries of rain provokes thoughts around ideas of dignity of work and life in the maximum city. ⁠
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Artist’s statement: Life’s oddness is, perhaps, best portrayed in the face of a villager who gets isolated in a city. It is far more tragic when the subjects of this endless migration are children, who grow up carrying the wounds of their traumas deep inside them. This is one such boy who has seen the turbulence and grown on the shores of Mumbai getting wet in the rain as he sleeps. Over the years, they say, villages have lost their creative importance in the Indian mindscape. Intellectual, emotional and spiritual variables associated with the journeys of the migrants have changed so much that in the current scenario the search for what many anthropologists have termed as “self-integration” appears to have disappeared or at least remains insignificant. On the other hand, the growing demand for hard labour has led to an inadequate yet systematic supply of men and women of all age groups from villages to cities. And because that demand has not contributed to any special status or dignity to those who build and weld, they continue to live in the fringes of their foster Holy Land, the cities. The prophecies of wealth trickling down and flooding these spaces where they dwell have only brought in more insecurities in these turbulent times. As an artist, to me, it has been a disturbing and an amazing experience observing these new realities – of people coping with their drab existence in alien situations. ⁠
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