Jeever Madness

Undertakers (2007) by Riyas Komu. Constructed out of wood, automotive paint, and iron.

Ullekh N.P. writes of Undertakers in Voices of Change: 20 Indian Artists, edited by Gayatri Sinha:

There is a medley of tombstones made of wood mounted on wheels—with a human heart engraved on one side and a star painted red with car paint attached to the other side. According to Komu, the work represents a situation in which the “earlier dead” offer last rites to the “newly dead” because nobody is alive to perform the ritual. (255-6)

Riyas Komu was born to a Malayali Muslim family in Thrissur, Kerala, though his work reflects a much larger scope than his personal background. A trip to Karachi inspired Undertakers, when Komu visited a cemetery that housed thousands of Muslim migrants from Partition. Reflecting on this history of violence and the contemporary insecurity in the city, Komu developed this sculpture to convey the perpetuation of violence in this region.

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