In March 2008, Sharmini Periera launched her new publishing imprint, Raking Leaves at Art Dubai, and at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Founder and sole operator of this non-profit organization based in London and Colombo, Pereira plans the publishing venture as a curatorial project, complex and unique to the artist or artists, with a different designer working on each project. Pereira envisions the books as unique pieces without formal introductions or scholarly essays, rather than as catalogs.
She is interested in establishing a way of working with artists that uses paper as a means through which their ideas can be gathered and distributed, hoping that distributing artwork in the form of relatively affordable books will allow these artists projects to reach a wider audience.
For Pereira, the medium of the book solves the problems of producing an exhibition in one fixed place. These portable art projects can overcome the complications and restrictions of working with international artists, such as those in her native Sri Lanka, where political unrest presents a challenge to curators looking to organize exhibitions or long-term projects. Pereira’s second printed project, The one year drawing project: May 2005- October 2007, is a response to the uncertain lives of a group of Sri Lankan artists. This project required the four participating artists, Muhammad Cadre, Thamortharampillai Sanathanan, Chandraguptha Thenuwara and Jagath Weerasinghe, to each start a series of A$-sized drawings, sending them to other members of the group, who then responded with further new drawings. Like a well-choreographed version of the Surrealist game, exquisite corpse, the one year drawing project followed a mapped-out system of interaction and communication that culminated in 52 drawings. Through the process itself and the unreliability of the Sri Lankan postal service extended the project to two and a half years, these collaborative drawings tell a fascinating story. They communicate the violent turmoil affecting the artists, all of them painters largely unable to exhibit due to displacement by the island’s civil conflict or the breakdown of the gallery system.”
Excerpt taken from Art Asia Pacific May/June 2008 edition
By Eliza Gluckman
Launch at the Barefoot Gallery on Monday August 25th at 7:00 pm