Shubigi Rao

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  • an excerpt from Pulp II: A Visual Bibliography of the Banished Book


Writer and visual artist Shubigi Rao’s interests range from archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature and violence, to ecologies, and natural history. A graduate of LASALLE College of the Arts, she obtained her MFA (First Class) and BFA (First Class) there. She also holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Delhi University, India.

Shubigi has written a number of books, with her earlier works including Useful Fictions (2014) and History’s Malcontents: The Life and Times of S. Raoul (2013), which was written under the pseudonym S. Raoul and chronicled ten years of artwork and writing. Her 2017 work, Written in the Margins, won the Juror's Choice Award at the triennial APB Signature Prize 2018. The work is part of her current decade-long film, book and art project, Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, which details the history of library destruction and the communities of print and open access. 

The first book from the project, Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book (2016), was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize (non-fiction) 2018, and won several awards, including AIGA (New York)’s 50 best books of 2016, a D&AD Pencil for design, and a Certificate of Typographic Excellence from Type Directors Club, New York. It was also included by the Business Times Singapore in its list of Best books from Singapore in 2016. The book has since been featured in Typography 38, the 63rd TDC Awards Exhibition in New York and in 8 exhibitions worldwide, including nearly 40 cities in the United States, China and Germany. The second book, Pulp II: A Visual Bibliography of the Banished Book, was published in 2018, with three more books planned for the project.

Outside of writing, Shubigi has staged notable exhibitions including The Pelagic Tracts (2018) for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, The Wood for the Trees (2018), Written in the Margins (2017) and The Retrospectacle of S. Raoul (2013). She has also participated in group shows such as Arus Balik (2019) at NTU-CCA Singapore, About Books (2018) at AlbumArte in Rome, the APB Signature Art Prize finalist exhibition (2018) at National Museum Singapore and Dear Painter (2015). Most recently, she worked with actress Lucy Liu in a joint exhibition titled Unhomed Belongings (2019), which explores themes of loss, memory and belonging using various mediums, including found objects.

Shubigi has been awarded several accolades, including a year-long residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (June 2016 – May 2017), an artist residency at NTU-CCA (Oct 2015 – Jan 2016) and the Creation (2018, 2013) and Presentation (2018, 2013, 2012) grants from National Arts Council Singapore. She is also a two time recipient of the Award for Excellence in the Arts for student of the year from LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore.

She has been interviewed by various media outlets such as The Straits Times, AsiaOne, Asian Art News, Creme and TAKE on Art, India. Her works have been heavily featured and reviewed by both local and international publications including Today, The Week, India, ArtReview Asia, Praxis Press and The Cinnamon Roll

Having been a featured writer in the 2013, 2016 and 2018 Singapore Writers Festival, Shubigi also regularly conducts talks and performance lectures. She is currently a MFA Dissertation supervisor for the Faculty of Fine Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts and was previously a part-time lecturer in Art Theory.

Author Biography © Shubigi Rao. Author Photo © Vienna Contemporary. All rights reserved.