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Aqui Thami, ‘Sister Library’

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Sister Library by Aqui Thami.

About the Work

Title : Sister Library
Artist : Aqui Thami
Medium : Multimedia Installation
Dimensions : Variable

Sister Library : An Interactive Space for Knowledge

The two words thrown together themselves form a piece of art, for what the two words stand for on their own and together. The artist and activist Aqui Thami has used the word ‘sister’ as it denotes a sense of solidarity, and a deep bonding and ‘library’ stands for collective intelligence, a coming together of creative and thought processes.

Specifically curated and designed to showcase the reading culture that is prevalent amongst women. The library houses books authored only by women. The collection includes graphic novels as well as illustrated zines. The low-cost self-publications aiming a small circulation, all of it by the young artist-archivist Aqui Thami.    The artist genuinely seeks to  “celebrate the contributions of women in the creative world”

The 100-book library, along with Thami, has had quite a journey. It has travelled to five cities: Goa, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The sixth has been this coastal Kerala city amid the subcontinent’s biggest contemporary art festival. It is to be held at the sea-facing venue of Pepper House in Fort Kochi. Additionally, Thami led a month-long workshop featuring feminism-centric reading sessions, film shows, talks, discussions and art workshops.

It is interesting to note that, artist Anita Dube, curator of the 108-day biennale, notes ‘Sister Library’ – “aptly describes” the festival’s two running themes: feminism and pedagogy. “Aqui has prioritised through her workshops and aesthetics that learning can be pleasurable and accessible,” Dube notes. “This is a major aim for me.”

Whats not to love about a multi layered exhibition that explores, contemporary themes, cultural tropes creating progressive and relevant dialogue.

“The library will make people look at the works of women seriously. The readers can celebrate the ideas of women authors,” she says. “The perception of women will be widely shared. It will start help shift some of the general perceptions about women around and hopefully bring a change some day.” Says the young 29 year old artist, as she works towards a more open culture having had faced marginalisation issues herself. She claims that in a dark space – art came to her as a ray of light and a ‘healing element’


To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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