Wednesday, April 17, 2013

SFCB: Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

In light of the tragic bombings in Boston this week, I thought I'd share an exhibition I saw last week when I attended a workshop at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here is a collection of 55 artist's books that were created in response to the March 5, 2007 bombing of Baghdad's "Street of Booksellers." Each artist created three copies of their book, one copy of which will be donated to the Iraq National Library.

Needless to say, each resulting book was as unique as its creator. The photo quality is sorely lacking, but here are a few quick pictures I snapped:

Some books that were open to artwork included text excerpts on separate pieces of paper, so that you could sample the poetry or writing within, such as this:
It's Spring 
by Loretta Cappanera
Italy, 2012 

It was a clear morning, the first day of Spring. In the little flower pot on the bedside table was a bunch of violets, the white sheets, the hands placed one next to the other, tied to a blue thread. Those hands had accompanied mine when sketching my first designs and tenderly followed my first readings. There always was a book in his hands, even after a tiresome day. I wished to bind those hands to mine.
The day before, there had been a big demonstration in Rome against the war in Iraq. The thousands of people present had tightly held another's hands around an extremely long flag, bearing the colors of the rainbow and the writing, "It's Springtime."

The exhibition is open to the public. Just walk into the SFCB at 375 Rhode Island St., between 16th and 17th. Viewing hours are Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm and Saturdays from 10am - 4pm.

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