Incomplete Thombu, 2011
Special edition artist book, 320 pages with illustrations in colour and black & white, 21 x 30 cm
Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan lives and works in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
Shanaathanan’s work deals with themes of displacement, memory and loss, especially as they relate to his homeland of Sri Lanka.
The word ‘thombu’ is a Dutch term used to refer to public land registry, which is also related to the Latin word ‘tome’, meaning large book. TheIncomplete Thombu, exhibited at LB01 is essentially a record book, a bureaucratic file that traces the displacement of Tamil people in Sri Lanka during the civil war of 1983 to 2009. It contains the documents (1-180) of ground plans of homes drawn from memory by displaced civilians, including interview notes, architectural renderings of collected ground plans, and dry pastel drawings made as a response. Each type of document is superimposed on top of another document to illustrate further displacements of memory, the notion of home, and identity.
Shanaathanan’s work was recently exhibited at the Dhaka Art Summit (2018), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2016), Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016), and Saskia Fernando Gallery (2016). His solo exhibitions include Dis/placement and Mismatches at the Saskia Fernando Gallery (2014 & 2011) and Locating the Self at Paradise Road Galleries.