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An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street - A Call To Book Artists

Event Details

An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street - A Call To Book Artists

Time: September 13, 2010 at 6pm to September 1, 2011 at 7pm
Location: International
Website or Map:…
Event Type: call, to, book, artists
Organized By: Beau Beausoleil and Sarah Bodman
Latest Activity: Sep 9, 2011

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Event Description

On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. Al-Mutanabbi Street is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic centre of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and even tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition is issuing a call to book artists to work on a project to “re-assemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street. The coalition asks each Book Artist who joins the project to complete and donate three books (or other paper material) in the course of a year, books that reflect both the strength and fragility of books, but also show the endurance of the ideas within them.

As in our broadside project, we will be donating one complete set of 130 to the Iraq National Library. The other two sets will be used in conjunction with shows of the broadsides as well as in shows of their own to raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Each book artist will have one year from the date they join the project to complete their three books.

The inventory of al-Mutanabbi Street was as diverse as the Iraqi population, including literature of both Iraq and the Middle East, history, political theory, popular novels, scholarly works, religious tracts, technical books, poetry, mysteries; even stationery and blank school notebooks could be purchased on this street, as well as comics, and magazines. Arabic was of course the predominate language but books in Farsi, French, German, Spanish and English were also represented. I imagine there were a few books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, or Italian, as well as classic Greek and Latin, Hindi, or even Russian. Your own text for this project can reflect the multiplicity of this linguistic crossroads.

This project is both a lament and a commemoration of the singular power of words. We ask that the work move within these parameters. We hope the books created will use
al-Mutanabbi and its printers, writers, booksellers, and readers, as a touchstone.

Please could you produce your book in an edition of 3, by any means: hand printed, digital, POD etc. Do feel free to make as many more of the edition as you want to use/sell however you want, we are asking for three copies in total to be donated to the project. This is a broad call for any kind of paper-based artist’s bookwork for example: Pamphlet books, Zines, newspapers, Miniature books, Paperback, hardback, etc., Folded and sewn or stapled sheets, Altered books, if artists want to make these, they can be 3 different versions or an edition of 3. Please make sure they are robust, not too heavy, and able to close for packing/transport.

Please remember that the books will tour international exhibitions to raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and a complete set will be sent to the Iraq National Library, so please keep them as light as possible to help save postage costs.

If you have any questions - please ask! Contact either one of us, from any other Book Artist worktable around the globe!!

Beau Beausoleil
Sarah Bodman

This call to Book Artists commenced on Sept 1st, 2010 and runs until Sept 1st, 2011. Book Artists will have one year from the date they respond to the call to complete their work.
You can download this information or read more about the project at

Thank you!

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Comment by Steve Godwin on November 17, 2010 at 9:29
I am excited to participate in this project. I'm looking forward to learning more about al-Mutanabbi St in order to create a more meaningful response.
Comment by Marilyn MacGregor on October 8, 2010 at 4:25
What a significant idea! Creation is the only enduring response to destruction.

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