Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

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On view: June 13 - September 21, 2013

Al-Mutanabbi Street is the centuries-old center of bookselling in Baghdad, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th Century classical Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, the street has been the hisotric heart and soul of Baghdad literary and intellectual community. On March 5, 2007, a car bomb was detonated on Al-Mutanabbi Street.

Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition was formed soon afterwards to commemorate not just the tragic loss of life, but also the idea of a targeted attack on a street where ideas have always been exchanged.

The coalition, headed by San Francisco poet and bookseller, Beau Beausoleil, issued a call to letterpress printers for a personal response to the bombing. Beausoleil asked printer and professor, Kathleen Walkup, to coordinate the first call on behalf of the coalition; and more than 40 letterpress printers responded to that call. Sarah Bodman, a U.K. book artist coordinated four calls over the next two years, which brought in more than 30 printers from the U.K .and Europe. From North Carolina, Lisa Beth Robinson issued two calls. Printers responded to the tragedy with positive creativity by printing the work of Iraqi, Middle-Eastern, Canadian, Korean, U.K., and American writers. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project now holds the work of printers from the United States, the U.K., Canada, Korea, Australia, New Zealand,The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and France.

There will be 25 Broadsides included in the show by the following artists: Charles Alexander, Johanna Atkinson, Heidi Barlow, Devonne Beech, Josef Beery with Clay Will, Brandon Blevins, Sarah Bodman with Nadia Chalabi, Kathleen Burch, Katherine Case & Annie Stenzel; Anna Cox, Jill Hearne, Barbara Henry, Jane Kennelly with Michael Caine, David Kirby, Tom Leech, Emily Martin, Anne Marie Mun, Kelly Nelson, Megan O’Connell, Bettina Pauly, Garrett Queen with Frank Riccio, Lisa Beth Robinson with Owen Beckman, Janet Rodney, Roger Snell with Elizabeth Leger, and Carol Todaro.

In addition, 11 books will be on display by the following artists: Laurie Alpert, Franz Baake, Angie Butler & Natalie McGrorty, Azadeh Fatehrad, Ania Gilmore & Annie Zeybekoglu, Noëlle Griffiths, Sarah Jacobs, Karen, Kunc, Andrew Law, Elçcin Marrasli, and Christina Mitrents.