Artist and writer Shubigi Rao is angry at the state of the world. But there’s no aggression, nor does she use expletives to express her anger. Instead, Shubigi – who is the first female artist to represent Singapore in a solo show at the Venice Biennale – manifests the power of her rage through her art.
“Anger comes out through my work, especially when it’s intellectual, film or creative work – creativity is an expression that comes from a place of motivation. My motivation is anger at injustice. It’s something I can’t stomach,” says Shubigi. Indeed, the 47-year-old has found an outlet in Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, a five-volume film, book and visual project that’s slated to take her 10 years to complete. Shubigi is only halfway through, even though technically she’s at the seven-and-a-half-year mark – she “lost” two years, she says, because of the pandemic.
The first volume, presented in a book format, was released in January 2016. Pulp essentially tackles literary works that have been destroyed for diverse reasons – including war and censorship – via books, artworks
and videos. It’s also the result of her love for books and their significance as a symbol of resistance against repression.