Riyas Komu is a multidisciplinary artist who successfully explores a diverse range of media across painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Portraiture has long been at the forefront of his practice, executing large scale paintings that possess an inherent political and social agenda. 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.
Maintaining his large format and photo-realist style, Satyajit Ray becomes a memorial of the subject as much of a portrait. Satayajit Ray (1921-1992) was an acclaimed film director recognised as one of the great directors of the 20th century and brought unprecedented success and prosperity to Indian cinema particularly with the Apu Trilogy. Komu is often recognised for his portraits monumentalising the everyday man through reference to the visual language of cinema. However with Satyajit Ray, Komu normalises the celebrity of the sitter, showing him at work, filming, and in doing so monumentalises his humanity. Unlike many of Komu's works, Ray does not engage with the viewer, he looks into the camera; his view of the world is through a lens. This perhaps reflects the notion that through films Ray created specific versions of reality. Komu in selecting this format allows the viewer to invert conventional perspectives and glimpse behind the lens, to look back at the director. Komu transforms the viewer into an active voyeur, stealing a glimpse of the celebrated director, whilst his gaze is diverted into the fictitious realm of cinema.