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Art | Illustration | Design

Reading Between The Lines - Phase II

Project Abstract

The nature of how books are consumed has constantly been evolving over the recent years - with the onset of e-books and rise of competitors in the business, many second-hand booksellers are struggling to make ends meet as they face a fall in the number of regular buyers. Before the advent of the internet, people often relied on books to receive information as well as recreation, this habit has seen a decline due to the modern-day dependence on online resources for the same. This replaced reliance and the changed demand have had an impact on the livelihoods of second-hand booksellers and the kind of books they sell. Owing to the preceding reasons, I have chosen subsistence of second-hand booksellers and the effect of external influences on it, as my preferred area of study.


Phase II


  1. To explore styles inspired by the artists chosen during Phase I

  2. To experiment with different medium and materials in order to understand their relevance to the final objective

  3. To create various visual and poetic iterations that are from the perspectives of the bookseller, the book and the reader


  1. Artistic explorations that set the base for further inquiry and final outcome

  2. Building of multiple concepts that gave a holistic viewpoint of the person in focus, i.e. the bookseller

  3. Listing of questions for further research from readers that explore ideas of relationship, nostalgia, memories & possession

  4. The initiation of a narrative through visual and poetic iterations for Phase III



My name is, What You Call Me

There you are, sitting, adjusting – looking at the street and then back into your phone

screen — jumping up from your seat and smiling at the passer by who hints at being a

potential purchaser – then sitting, shifting, seeing — staring at your screen again.


From atop the ashen shelf,

I see you, but I don’t say.

I lay here, quietly,

among many others like me -

with my worn-out spine and tea-stained insides,

I make do with the clutter.

Perhaps, in hope, that the dust will be puffed,

and I will find home in another.

From beneath Morrison’s book,

I see you, but I don’t say.

I watch you walk up & down,

Fast & slow, round and round –

I wonder if you see me too,

I wonder if you remember my name,

I wonder if you’d hear me out

And my purpose will be reclaimed.


Like strangers stuck in a time-machine

I wait, you wait, we wait together –

Watching, fiddling, listening closely

to these stories within us,

of struggle, routine and days empty

and a life that happened thus.

Like torn lovers bound to be parted,

I wait, you wait, we wait together –

to whisper in the ears of an accidental hoarder,

the tales of the time that is going to set us free.

So, when she asks you for my name, you say,

My name is, What You Call Me.

Brief Explanation -

The poem is written from the perspective of the

book - how the book sees the bookseller, his habits,

the space he occupies, his relationship with his

customers and with ‘the book’ itself.

The book doesn’t know of its contents, it trusts the

bookseller to make the right recommendation, it is

representative of all the books that make up the

bookshop, therefore, the poem is called -

“My Name is, What You Call Me.”



Concept -Visual Representation of Safdar Hashmi’s Poem; What books are all about

Materials - Photographs, Illustrations, Collage


The Common Thread

Concept - Second-hand Book - the object of focus between the buyerseller as well as the previous owners and the new buyer.

Materials - Paper, jute, watercolour, pen


Subject’s Objects

Concept - Objects from the bookseller’s metaphorical ‘Book of Life’

Materials - Paper cutouts, pen, digital tweaking


Here, There, Everywhere

Concept - Focus on the hand gestures of the bookseller - arrangement of books - how the body navigates through it

Materials - Digital sketches & photographs


A Healing Companion

Concept - How book is seen by a writer/reader - purpose of a book - personality of the reader

Materials - Charcoal and pencil on paper with digital tweaking


Combination of works inspired by different artists

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