SALT - Riyas Komu is the first major exhibition of contemporary art hosted by the Dashrath Patel Museum from 21 Mar - 30 April 2021.
It is delightful to see the artworks by Komu exhibited in a space that houses the path breaking legacy of India’s most versatile modernist.
SALT (Concept Note):
With all your offerings you shall offer salt
In the Bible, salt symbolizes purity, perfection, wisdom, hospitality, durability and fidelity. In Sanskrit, lāvaṇya means Saltness, the taste or the property of salt; it also means beauty, loveliness, prettiness, handsomeness, comeliness; gracefulness of figure.
Salt permeates and pervades in time, space, objects and contexts. It is the trace and spice of life, a symbol of incorruptibility and immanence. It is a mineral that has journeyed with human civilization, nourishing bodies and minds, adding taste and resisting decays.
Every part of the human body contains salt and is crucial to the function of neurotransmitters in the human body, which means, without salt, intelligent life would not exist. Culturally, salt binds us all together as a symbol of mutual trust; it denotes bond, enduring solidarity and ever-renewed camaraderie and inevitably the epic Salt March – the gentle and defiant, symbolic and evocative protest that inspired popular resistance to fight one of the most powerful empires in the world.
The physical-metaphorical, chemical-political resonances of this mineral constitute the soul and sweat of these works; they figure history and contextualise its salty traces and sediments in the form of memories, dreams and nightmares, icons, and idols. These works invoke the lingering taste of making, the memories that haunt the collective unconscious and iconic traces that provoke civilizational conscience. They oscillate between past and present, icons and apparitions to feel the taste of what binds and divides, what is preserved and what is left to decay. They recall memories and reimagine memorials of political caution and cultural nourishment.
This show – SALT – comprising of installations, assemblages, sculptures, paintings and woodcuts, is an act of remembrance, an attempt to preserve and pickle certain memories, and an invocation to reflect upon what essentially permeates the web and weave, the heart and soul of our social being.