Kerala

Riyas Komu severs ties with KBF

Riyas Komu

Riyas Komu  

Says foundation failed to stand by him after ‘unfounded’ sexual allegation

The founding secretary of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, artist Riyas Komu, who had stepped down from all management positions of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale pending inquiry into a #MeToo allegation against him in October last, has now severed his ties with the foundation.

“My decision is irrevocable,” he said in a midnight mail to co-trustees of the foundation on Tuesday.

He explained that the decision to step down permanently from KBF was in the wake of the ‘marginalisation’ and ‘humiliation’ faced by him from KBF ever since his “temporary voluntary stepping down” in the wake of “an unfounded and anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct” against him “clearly made with a malicious intent.”

Allegation

“I understand that the attack [allegation] was also intended to destabilise the biennale,” he maintained.

Mr. Komu said he had stepped aside in October to ensure that the biennale would not be compromised because of the allegation. It was distressing, he noted, that despite an offer of silent administrative support extended by him, the KBF never reached out or involved him in any aspect its work for the ongoing edition.

He asked the foundation to introspect why it failed to stand by him when he was the “target of a deliberate and calibrated attempt to wreck my career as an artist of global renown and damage my personal and professional reputation.”

It was for the foundation to also introspect and explain why the curator of the ongoing edition, artist Anita Dube, was allowed to marginalise and stop him from operating as the Director of Programmes.

“She was even allowed to attack me publicly against the terms of the contract,” Mr. Komu wrote, demanding that the KBF publicly reprimand her “for her reprehensible and unprofessional conduct”.

He also demanded an inquiry against a Board member of the KBF who allegedly publicly targeted him using social media.

Mr. Komu said he was informally intimated by KBF president Bose Krishnamachari and secretary V. Sunil that the Internal Complaints Committee had, on January 17, concluded that “the allegation of sexual misconduct against me was unfounded and that I therefore was in the clear.”

He urged the foundation to deliver on its assurance of a public statement clearing him of any wrongdoing.

Mr. Krishnamachari told The Hindu that the resignation and related issues would be discussed at the Board meeting slated for March 28, a day before the event would draw to a close.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 9:45:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/riyas-komu-severs-ties-with-kbf/article26593949.ece

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