Layla Gonaduwa takes the Biennale theme of Making History in its literal sense and has used her love affair with books and being the owner of a secondhand book exchange as the material and background for “The Silverfish.” This work seeks to transform the Mahavamsa, a Pali epic poem of SriLankan origin, according to procedures meant to evoke the damage done to texts over time by silverfish. The silverfish here represents a disruption and a distortion, symbolically stealing matter and meaning from the book and the site it is held.
The transformations of the silverfish echo the transformations that we all, insofar as we are chroniclers of our own experience, make in attempting to turn our experiences of events into history.
Gonaduwa is a self-taught, experimental enamel artist, and the founder of Read&Seed, a home-based secondhand book exchange with a cult following. She is a member of Fireflies (International Women Artist’s Network) and also CoCA (Collective of Contemporary Artists).