After being accused of sexual assault last October, Kochi Biennale Foundation’s (KBF) co-founder Riyas Komu, has now severed all ties with the institution by resigning from his post on Tuesday. Riyas had stepped down from all managerial positions of the foundation back in October 2018, following MeToo allegations against him.
Riyas had reportedly mailed the co-trustees of KBF on Tuesday night, stating that his decision was irrevocable. He also accused the foundation of ‘marginalising’ and ‘humiliating’ him after he stepped down from the managerial positions of the foundation following an ‘unfounded and anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct, made with a malicious intent’.
Reports also stated that the resignation was made as a sign of protest against the board’s decision to keep him away from trust responsibilities despite the probe was closed by the internal complaint committee (ICC). The investigation in the case had been closed as the complainant did not want to pursue the issue, according to advocate Tushara James who was an external member of the ICC.
Riyas Komu co-founded KBF in 2010 along with another leading artist, Bose Krishnamachari.
In her statement to TNIE, Bose Krishnamachari said that the board of trustees will meet on March 28, a day before the current edition of the Biennale ends, to discuss issues raised by Riyas Komu.
In October last year, a survivor shared her story about Komu in an anonymous post on Instagram. In the post, she stated that she had met him in Mumbai for a studio visit. She claimed that he was friendly and that he had invited her to Kochi to discuss a project. In Kochi, she attended the event, and at one point agreed for a drink with him, when he sexually assaulted her.
Following this, Riyas had put up an Instagram post in October, offering his apologies.
"I'm deeply upset that this incident has been understood and presented in this manner. However, as the person expressed is hurt, I would like here to offer my apologies and I am opening myself to the possibility of a conversation," he wrote.