The portraits of Riyas Komu demand dialogue between the viewer and the subject. Komu uses images found in popular media as inspiration for his portraits and thus maintains an organic connection between his works and the public domain. With their large format and photo-realist style, these portraits magnify subtle signs of social unrest and encourage the viewer to contemplate the angst and frustration faced by the common citizen. While known for his experimentation with different media, Komu consistently returns to portraiture, embracing the genres ability to discuss social adversity on a human level.
Salvaging anonymous individuals from the often dehumanized popular media, Komu depicts his subjects with nuanced and inscrutable expressions. The artist, who has stated his artistic goal to archive the times, uses his canvas to speak for those overlooked in the grand narrative of history. Alluding to the inability to be heard, the individuals in each portrait seem disturbed and yet speechless, urging the viewer to decipher the complex frustrations unique to each personal situation. Drawing the viewer into the disquieting space of the subject, Komu denies his viewer any easy answers and creates works that "look back at the viewer rather than just tell a story or hang on the wall."