Shrine Empire presents Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera’s debut solo exhibition in India titled Memory Keeper that will open at Shrine Empire, 7, Friends Colony (West), New Delhi-65 from January 19, 2013 till February 18, 2013, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Phone @ 41327630/ 26326930.
Anoli Perera, 50, is one of the most renowned contemporary female artists from Sri Lanka and is currently based in Delhi. In this exhibition, the artist relates stories she has seen unfolding in Sri Lanka’s history. “For people, the last vestiges of the previous era and the transition itself, become insignificant moments and footnotes of history, not worth remembering in the larger contexts of events. But they are important in the nostalgias of people like me who don't belong to the histories of either era because we happened to be born in between times, in a moment of liminality. So we need a space of comfort for ourselves, a space we find entrenched within the nostalgias and memories of moments in our lives which for many people have become insignificant and mundane … So now I am grasping for and committing to memory those moments and incidents that for many people would be insignificant details …they are insignificant because they have ceased to be important to them amidst many other things in live.”
Perera’s exhibition takes viewers to and beyond private and public memory mediated by the passage of time as well as war, and traverses through a number of other discourses that includes migration, globalization and advent of homogenous cultural forms and the expelling of the local. However, in all cases, the artist’s point of departure and obsessive focus is what is remembered and what would lapse from memory. One of her works titled Left Behinder has a canopied bed enmeshed by lace panels; on the bed, a trunk with a video installation is placed surrounded by a webbed-in constellation of bottles with food recipes encapsulated as posthumous references to the lost community of Burghers (Sri Lankan Eurasians). The title, Left Behinder is taken from a poem by Jean Arasanayagam, a Dutch burgher Sri Lankan writer. Arasanayagam’s poem by the same title is embroidered by Perera on the bed cover. The whole work tries to remember the diminishing presence of the burghers, most of
them left Sri Lanka due to the uncomfortable political environments of the post independence era (post 1948). On a wall close to the bed installation, one could see another work titled Rose Wall Paper consisting of large layouts of wallpaper from where semi-faded figures emerge referring to a bygone era already lapsing from the collective memory of the present.
Another artwork series titled Ghosts of Swarna Bhumi consists of three black, headless, tall, ghostly female figures seemingly pregnant inviting the viewers to another dimension of memory that goes beyond the individual and the intensely personal towards the collective and the public. The figures are motionless with no heads and no feet. The swollen belly seen through a magnifying glass carries images of Sri Lanka’s recently concluded and immensely destructive civil war; Three more womb like forms are positioned on the floor connected by three umbilical cords to the standing figures. They too carry images of a violent past.