A chance to experience artworks, across a range of media

Two artists, three venues, two cities, one publisher and two galleries. The Barefoot Gallery and the Saskia Fernando Gallery are together hosting Raking Leaves, a new breed of curatorial publisher to emerge on the international arena while the Jaffna Heritage Hotel will play host to Raking Leaves for the launch of the organization’s new book projects in Jaffna.

The two-venue exhibition event that opened to the public on December 2 ends on December 12 offering viewers the chance to experience artworks, across a range of media, by T. Shanaathanan and Bani Abidi.

Bani Abidi T.Shanaathanan

“We are excited about working with Raking Leaves, T.Shanaathanan and Barefoot Gallery in staging this one-of-a-kind event. The launch of both books alongside the video installations and an exhibition of T.Shanaathanan’s work gives our audiences the chance to see a more in-depth presentation of the artists behind both of these Raking Leaves art projects,” said SF Gallery Director Saskia Fernando.

Nazareen Sansoni, Director of Barefoot Gallery and Bookshop, says “Raking Leaves has impressed me from their inception with their thought provoking publications. We are especially excited by the Incomplete Thombu that architecturally gives voice to a community that calls to be heard.

“The Speech Writer, by Bani Abidi is a wonderful, joyful interactive book—a clever way of translating a complex idea—in the form of flip books, reminiscent of the books we use to make as children. Pure joy in the form of a beautiful book.”

The Incomplete Thombu by T. Shanaathanan launched at Barefoot is an artwork that exists in the form of a book which people are able to buy and own. The inspiration for Shanaathanan’s project comes from the Dutch word for Land Registry, ‘Thombu’. It’s an unlikely source for a contemporary art work that explores the stories of displacement faced by Tamil-speaking civilians from the north. Yet on closer inspection the inspiration and use of Thombu is entirely relevant when one comes to look through the ‘File document’ of lands, properties and homes, the artist presents us with.

Shanaathanan comments, “The most inspiring part of this project was the chance to work with the civilians who have ‘witnessed’ one of most cruel wars in the century. It gave me a chance at least to partially fulfill the role of an artist living in a conflict zone.”

To accompany the publication and launch of The Incomplete Thombu, Barefoot Gallery will also be showing a video-based work by Shanaathanan called Untitled, 2011.

Barefoot Gallery also launched The Speech Writer by Pakistani artist Bani Abidi and the showing of a video projection by Abidi titled ‘Reserved’ (2006). Meanwhile, the Saskia Fernando Gallery will be presenting a solo exhibition of T. Shanaathanan’s work entitled Mismatches (2011)- a series of nine paintings that take the form of a jigsaw. Says Shanaathanan, “In these particular works I have made nine landscapes or locations depicting the Hindu cosmos of nine planets (the navagraha) in the form of nine jigsaw puzzle pieces. The pieces of the jigsaw represent experiences related to time, place and memory.

The book projects will be available for sale at Barefoot Gallery and Saskia Fernando Gallery for a special launch price of Rs 3,200.

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