> Reading Room

Anne Covell

, Banoo Batliboi

, Deng Yifu

, Kingsley Gunatillake

, Layla Gonaduwa

, Liz Fernando

, Meera Devidayal

, Radhika Hettiarachchi & Shanika Perera

, Samanta Batra Mehta

, Samit Das

, Sathyanand Mohan

, Smriti Choudhary

, Tanmoy Samanta

, Zach Stensen

, Jagath Weerasinghhe

08 August - 13 September, 2014

Presented in collaboration with Blueprint 12 (New Delhi) and Colombo Art Biennale (Colombo), Reading Room is a show curated by Amit Jain, featuring works by fifteen artists from across the world. The ‘Reading Room’ is a journey of discoveries and experiences, of nostalgia and witness; a space where the many and varied perspectives and practices of the book arts find a place of meeting, dialogue and expression. Book art demands both, an aesthetic engagement and critical conceptual inquiry into the work. Aesthetic engagement with book art requires a paradigm shift to reading a different logic in the book: the logic of the visual, textural and cultural. Traditionally, the book has signified knowledge, and can be considered a visually embedded cultural site because of this history (consider the many times that books have been burnt as acts of symbolic violence). It is a site where many versions of history, senses of identity and narratives (both dominant and counter) converge. The book in contemporary art, is thus an object completely transformed – not just in its structure, but also in its meaning. Walter Benjamin calls this the ‘renewal of existence.’ This sense of renewal is to be experienced in the work of the exhibiting artists brought together in conversation in the ‘Reading Room’. The mood is sometimes fantastical and playful, and sometimes evocative and intimate. At its most activist, it stands as a collective resistance to dominant politics and ideologies. And, as the artist, in many ways, works as an interpreter of the book, so will the viewer of the work. The experience of reading is deeply personal, whether approached with anticipation, curiosity, or sometimes even with hesitation. Thus, the ‘Reading Room’ invites the reader of this space to carry with them the memory of this experience in a context created for encounter, discussion, and making meaning.

Download Exhibition Catalogue

Select Works

Load More


Anne Covell

Anne Covell is an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, where she studies letterpress printing, book binding and hand papermaking. In 2004, Covell completed a BA from San Diego State University and in 2010 she completed a MA from the University of Iowa where she was Robert A. Olson Fellow in Special Collections. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad.

Banoo Batliboi

Banoo Batliboi is a self-taught paper artist who is impassioned about creating ‘book art’. She works with old, abandoned books which have served for many years in their conventional form as a vehicle for narrative ideas. Now, by shifting focus to the tactile and visual qualities of the book, she imagines an alternative interpretation

Deng Yifu

Deng Yifu is a multidisciplinary artist involved in painting, photography, sculpture, and installation based in Beijing, China. After graduating from the Guangzhou School of Light Industry, Guangzhou, China, Deng engaged in additional studies at the Guangzhou Academy of Arts and the Luxun Academy of Arts. Deng’s works have often engaged with the nature and process of history and have been included in shows with related themes.

Kingsley Gunatillake

Kingsley is a painter, installation artist and book artist. He received his BFA from the Fine art University, Colombo and diploma in Environ-mental Education from the University of Strathclide Glasgow. He has had several solo exhibitions in Sri Lanka, The UK, The Philippines, Ire-land, Glasgow and India. Has participated in many group exhibitions and international artist camps both in Sri Lanka and abroad, most recent of which were in France. Gunatillake’s painting sculptures and Installations can be found in the collections of architects, several collectors and the President Collection of Contemporary Art, Sri Lanka.

Layla Gonaduwa

A self-taught, experimental Enamel Artist, and the founder of Read & Seed, a home based secondhand book exchange with a cult fol-lowing for its novelty, she from an early age has been inspired by the concept ‘Complete Freedom Of Expression for Children Through Art and Material’ popularised by the late Cora Abraham and Nalini Weerasinghe. She went on to become an inspirationalist – a role more appropriate than ‘teacher’ in the context of Art - and the Vice Principal of The Cora Abraham Art School Trust, resigning in 2006 to discover and pursue enameling as a medium of art, full time.

Liz Fernando

Liz Fernando is a graduate from the prestigious LCC BA Photography program, University of Arts London. Fernando’s work mostly finds its roots in conceptual research. Her own biography, research into the role of photography in South Asia and the resulting work high-lights the different meaning that photography, identity, the notion of memory occupy within nonwestern cultures. Her work was exhibited at Tate Modern London and is showcased by Photoworks Brighton. Her award winning work ‘Trincomalee - My father’s stories and the lost photographs’ has recently been acquired by the Worldbank, Washington D.C for its permanent collection and is currently on an international travelling exhibition. She lives and works in Europe and Sri Lanka.

Meera Devidayal

Meera Devidayal studied English Literature in Kolkata and Fine Arts in Mumbai. Having lived and worked in Mumbai for most of her life, Meera’s recent solo shows include ‘A Terrible Beauty’ (2014) ‘Where I Live’ (2009) and ‘Dream/Reality’ (2006) at Chemould Prescott Road. She has participated in several group shows both in India and abroad.

Radhika Hettiarachchi & Shanika Perera

Radhika and Shanika have collaborated on a joint project entitled “HERSTORIES” for the exhibition. Radhika Hettiarachchi obtained a BA in Communications and English at York University, Canada and her MS in Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has been involved in the development sector, conflict transformation and alternative methods of peace-building in Sri Lanka since 2005. She is the curator of Colomboscope 2014, which shares the CAB theme of “Making History”. She is the curator and creator of the “Herstory Archives” project. Shanika Perera holds a degree in graphic design from the Academy of Design in Colombo. Beyond her enthusiastic fondness for cows, cats and chopsticks, she shares a deep passion for the environment. A self-styled environmentalist, her ambition and dream is to one day champion positive change in cultivating a more “green-conscious” society. Till then, she remains a professional graphic designer with a multitude of creative accomplishments ranging from fashion and art to advertising.

Samanta Batra Mehta

Samanta Batra Mehta's work has been exhibited at various international venues including at the Queens Museum of the Arts, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Aicon Gallery and Saffronart in New York, the Hunterdon Museum and the Visual Arts Center, New Jersey, the Taubman Museum of Art, Virgina and the NIU Museum, Illinois, Fondazione Fotographia, Modena and Artopia, Milan.

She has had solo exhibitions at Shrine Empire, Delhi, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai and at Art Basel Hong Kong in the ‘Discoveries’ section. Her first solo exhibition in 2014, ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, with Shrine Empire, New Delhi was nominated for the Forbes India Art Award in the ‘Best Debut Solo’ category. She has participated in several group exhibitions throughout India including at Bodhi Art Gallery, Gallery BMB, Gallery OED, Gallery Sumukha and Tarq in Mumbai. In 2014, Samanta’s work was included in the ‘Reading Room’, a partner exhibition at the Kochi Biennale 2014.

Her work has been showcased at leading art fairs such as at Art Basel, Hong Kong, Art Dubai, India Art Fair, Bologna Arte Fiere, and Salon Du Dessin Contemporain at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris where she was invited to make a large site-specific mural. Samanta is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation's 2014-2015 Painters & Sculptors Grant Award in the US. She was shortlisted for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2017. Her works are included in several collections in India and abroad including at Fondazione Fotografia Cassa di Risparmio di Modena in Italy, the RPG Group, the Jindal Collection, Birla Art Foundation, among others.

Born in New Delhi, the artist currently lives and works in New York

Samit Das

Born in 1970 in Jamshedpur, Samit Das began his formal artistic training at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 1994, where he continued on to his Masters degree two years later. In 2000, he participated in the Associate Student Post Graduate Program at the Camberwell College of Art, London. Das has also been the recipient of the BRIC scholarship which led to him spending some time in Italy in 2011.
Samit Das is deeply fascinated with documentation and the archive. Das' love for the archive and his Santiniketan roots culminated in a documentation project at the Tagore Museum in Kolkata between 1999 and 2001. He went on to work on another project in the form of an exhibition titled “The Idea of Space and Rabindranath Tagore” that was exhibited in various spaces including Lalit Kala Academy (New Delhi),  India International Centre (New Delhi) , Victoria Memorial Hall (Kolkata) and Freies Museum (Berlin). He has exhibited extensively in India and abroad while also participating in projects such as the art installation project at the international airport in Mumbai which was curated by Rajiv Sethi. Samit Das lives and works in New Delhi.

Sathyanand Mohan

Sathyanand was born in Kerala in 1975. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in painting from the Government College of Fine Arts, Trivan-drum, in 1998 and then his Master’s degree in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, in 2000. Mohan’s first solo show ‘Reliquary’, was held at the Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2009. His work has been featured in several group shows including, ‘Multitudes’ at the Goethe Institut, Bangalore, in 2009.

Smriti Choudhary

Smriti is a graphic designer and illustrator who graduated from National Institute of Design in 2005. Soon after, she started her independent graphic design studio – Pinksoda, which specializes in branding, print and web design projects. After working with digital art and design for years, she started to illustrate again and founded an illustration studio in 2013 – Airphish, where she draws while dreaming about nature and designs products around her art.

Tanmoy Samanta

Tanmoy Samanta (b. 1973) began his artistic journey at the Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, West Bengal, followed by training at the Kanoria Arts Centre, Ahmedabad. His career has seen a number of solo exhibitions including three with the New Delhi based Gallery Espace and one at Anant Art Gallery, Kolkata. Samanta’s show at TARQ in 2014, titled The Shadow Trapper’s Almanac, curated by Ranjit Hoskote, marked his first solo exhibition in Mumbai. Portraits in Time is his second solo show with TARQ in 2017. Over the years, Samanta has been a part of group shows across India and abroad. Recently, he was part of a group exhibition, Known Unknown, organized by the Raza Foundation, in collaboration with Vadhera Art Gallery, 2020. Besides finding a presence in numerous art fairs such as Art Dubai, Dhaka Art Summit, Art Chennai and India Art Fair, his works are a part of several prestigious public art projects such as the installation at the Hyatt Regency, Delhi (2016), a site specific collaborative project at IIM Ahmedabad (2016), T-2 Liminus, Mumbai International Airport (2013) and Bee-Hive at the Hyatt Regency, Chennai (2011) – both curated by Rajiv Sethi. In 2002, Samanta artistic practice was recognized and celebrated with an award from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, USA. He lives and works in New Delhi.

Zach Stensen

Zach graduated in Master of Fine Arts with Honors from University of Iowa, majoring in Printmaking. He is the recipient of various grants, scholarships & fellowships such as: Faculty Research Grant. Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar (2012) and the Len Everett Fellowship, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (2008). His works have been included in several important group and juried shows across the United States.

Jagath Weerasinghhe

Jagath studied Painting at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya and at the American University in Washington DC. His most significant exhibitions include ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Yanthra Gala Round Pilgrimage’ which explored artistic expressions reflective of broad socio-political implications within a deep personal context. He currently teaches at the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, Colombo and is the Founding Member and Chairman of Theertha International Artists Collective, Sri Lanka


  • Art Bound

    An exhibition in the city will showcase unique and innovative works of book art; will also feature oeuvre of international artists

    HT Cafe
    01 Sep 2014
    Read More
  • Seeing Art in Pages

    While the argument on the death of books may seem conclusive, we say there's reason to be optimistic about the medium. Reading Room: an exhibition displaying work by 15 artists, who have explored books as a tool of art, confirms our belief. We headed to Tarq Art Gallery at Colaba only to discover a world of books seamlessly colliding as art.

    12 Sep 2014
    Read More
  • Book as Sculpture

    Banoo Batliboi is a self-taught paper artist who creates altered book art from old abandoned books that she finds and 'rescues' mostly from the pavements of Bombay city.

    01 Sep 2014
    Read More