Artist Riyas Komu has stepped down from all management positions at the Kochi Biennale Foundation after a woman accused him of sexual harassment, his organisation said.
The allegations against Komu were shared on the anonymously-run Instagram account ‘Scene and Herd’. In her post, the art professional had claimed that Komu pushed her against a wall and kissed her when she visited Kochi in October 2015 to discuss a project with him. She alleged that Komu molested her again during her stay in Kochi.
Komu is the co-founder of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an international art exhibition held in Kerala. He apologised after the woman’s allegations.
The Kochi Biennale Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust, said its managing committee met on Friday and decided to constitute a committee to inquire into the allegations. “Though the Foundation has received no formal complaint, we are collectively committed to ensuring zero tolerance to any harassment or misconduct,” the foundation said in a statement.
“Riyas Komu has stepped down from all his management positions connected to the Biennale till the matter is resolved,” it added. “The Kochi Biennale Foundation is responsible for the safety and security of its community, and will take all measures to ensure this as we work together in making the Biennale.”
In his apology, Komu had said: “I’m deeply upset that this incident has been understood and presented in this manner. However, as the person has expressed hurt, I would like here to offer my apologies and I am opening myself to the possibility of a conversation.”