curated by sharmini Pereira
2-10 February 2018 | Dhaka Art Summit
One Hundred Thousand Small Tales took its name from a poem by the Tamil poet Cheran, where he writes about how a "‘bridge, strengthened by its burden of a hundred thousand tales, collapses within a single tear.” This exhibition was imagined as an inventory of materials that bring about the bridge’s collapse. In so doing, the exhibition imagined how the burden of countless tales might be archived into an exhibition before a single tear - in this case, of a page from a history book - renders them forgotten. To this end, this exhibition addressed the artistic output that bore witness to the many narratives, episodes and accounts of what has taken place in Sri Lanka during it’s recent history. While the exhibition, like the bridge in Cheran’s poem, gained its strength by the weight of tales it carries, it simultaneously acknowledged how the burden of representation threatened to bring about it’s own downfall.
Part archive and part inventory, One Hundred Thousand Small Tales aimed to provide a starting point for mapping out the various paths of art production in the country from the lead up to Sri Lanka’s independence - which took place in 1948 - to the present. This exhibition included several generations of artists and incorporated archival materials in addition to works on paper, paintings, photographs, film, sculpture and animation.