The artist and cofounder of Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), Riyas Komu, has stepped down from his position following an anonymous Instagram post on the account of Scene and Herd, which described an incident of sexual assault. The artist allegedly accompanied the woman to her hotel room uninvited: ‘He began kissing me and feeling me up while I struggled to even process what the hell was going on. I was so petrified that I just let it happen. It stopped just as abruptly as it had started. And then he left. It didn’t stop here. I was violated again by him during my stay in Kochi,’ she wrote. KMB has released a statement reading: ‘Though the Foundation has received no formal complaint, we are collectively committed to ensuring zero tolerance to any harassment or misconduct. Riyas Komu has stepped down from all his management positions connected to the Biennale till the matter is resolved’. Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, advisor at KMB, has said the allegation will be investigated further, adding ‘There is a male power play that happens… It is so difficult for women to come out and make these statements, so when they do there needs to be a certain credence given to it’.
22 October 2018