Asia Art Archive and Raking Leaves in partnership with Groundviews and University of Jaffna jointly present Open Edit: Mobile Library in Sri Lanka at Christa Seva Ashram, Chuunakam, .

Following its first edition in Ho Chi Minh City in 2011, the Mobile Library will travel to Sri Lanka, making its first appearance in South Asia. In its ambitious second edition, Raking Leaves and AAA will launch the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture and Design. Second copies of many of the materials in the Sri Lankan archive will become part of AAA’s collection, enriching the Archive’s representation of Sri Lanka.

The Mobile Library collection is comprised of 400 books, exhibition catalogues, periodicals, and monographs. Beginning in Jaffna, the Mobile Library will be housed at Christa Seva Ashram for three months while the University of Jaffna’s Fine Arts (Art History) and Art and Design Departments will integrate the library and its materials into their day-to-day curriculum activities. The project will be accompanied by a series of programmes targeting artists, students, creative professionals, teachers, and academics. The project will also invite students and teachers from the Eastern University in Batticoloa and the Visual and Performing Arts University, Colombo, to utilise the rich array of materials in the archive.

Schedule of Events

Opening Reception

15 March 2013 | 4:30-6:30pm

Christa Seva Ashram, Chuunakam, Jaffna

Presentation by AAA

16 March 2013 | 10-11am

Department of Fine Arts, New Arts Block, University of Jaffna

Architectural tour of Jaffna

16 March 2013 | 11:30am-1pm
Meeting point: Entrance, New Arts Block, University of Jaffna

Open Call is aimed at practicing artists from around the country, inviting them to visit the library to conduct research and submit proposals for artworks in response to the materials. A selection of these works will be exhibited in Colombo at the end of the project.

16 March - 15 June 2013 | Jaffna

Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design is the first archive of its kind in the country. This unique project aims to establish a much-needed resource and record of books and printed matter related to the development of contemporary visual and theoretical practices in Sri Lanka. This archive will be presented alongside the Mobile Library project in Jaffna and Colombo. Conceived as a five-year project, the archive will be developed in tandem with an online platform. A specially designed website detailing all the materials in the archive will be launched in June as part of the Open Talk programme.

Archiving the Archivists in Jaffna: Material, Memory, and Loss

16 March - 15 June 2013 | Jaffna
5 - 7 July 2013| Colombo

Siting Research
Digital Traces
Inheritance: The Burden of the Archive
Noolaham Foundation
Spittel’s Travels and Other Stories

The Search for Lester James Peries’ Nidhanaya

Open Talk is a two-day debate forum organised in partnership with Sri Lanka’s award-winning online journalism platform Groundviews. The forum will bring together a number of speakers to discuss, present, and question the subject of the archive and its relevance to present-day society in Sri Lanka. Open Talk will take place in Colombo at the end of June and is aimed at as broad an audience as possible.

6 - 7 July 2013 | Colombo 


Further reading

Theertha - A Journey by a Collective of Restless Artists by Anoli Perera


Funded by

Burger Collection and Foundation for Arts Initiatives (FfAI)  

Mobile Library is a periodic initiative organised in partnership with cultural collaborators in different countries throughout Asia to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas. By co-organising events and enabling the circulation of printed matter, this programme activates new possibilities to engage with art as a form of knowledge.

Relevant content

Theertha: A Journey by a Collective of Restless Artists

Theertha: A Journey by a Collective of Restless Artists

Anoli Perera examines how artists-led initiative Theertha responds to sociopolitical circumstances and the art ecology in Sri Lanka