Through the last two editions, the Young Subcontinent (YS) project attempted to chart the contours and sightlines of South Asian art imagination and art practice, illustrating and celebrating the lines of convergence, the commonalities in historical experiences, the entanglements of its cultural roots, and most crucially, its shared aspirations and dreams. These tapestries of art practices from across the continent meditated upon and mediated the complex social, religious and political spheres of life in the subcontinent. The geopolitical dynamics of South Asia is subject to several local, regional, national, and global factors. On the one side is a kind of globalisation imagined and imposed by capital, aggressively moulding the structure and direction of economics and politics of nation states in the region, and on the other are the menacing forces of fundamentalism and totalitarianism that threaten the democratic fabric and ways of living in this region. An art project like YS is necessarily a struggle against monolithic culturalism and narrow nationalism based on othering, and one that argues vehemently for the coexistence and celebration of pluralities that constitute South Asia, its societies, identities, politics, economy and culture. With this in view, the YS project ought to now expand points of contact, explore sightlines of common struggles and aspirations, looking at reassertion and reinvention of geographies, facilitate conversations and narratives of peaceful coexistence and democratic aspirations. YS aspires to imagine and develop into a free platform of art-making and theorising, storytelling and mentoring, that will draw, and draw from, new sightlines for inter-cultural and political diplomacy.
Riyas Komu is a multi-media artist and an activist working towards reviving art education and developing art infrastructure in India. His critically acclaimed political works have been exhibited extensively in India and abroad, which include several key works that focus specially on the political and cultural history of Kerala. His works takes energy from social movements and political actions and are part of the larger narrative of the making and unmaking of artistic influences in society and also reflects the current issues in global context, mainly violence, displacement and conflict. In 2007, he was one of two artists from India to be selected by curator Robert Storr for the 52nd Venice Biennale, and represented Iranian Pavilion at Venice Biennale in 2015. He participated in Jogja Biennale, Indonesia, 2011.