A Home on Al-Mutanabbi Street

A collaboration with poet Richard Harrison and translator Antoine Sassine, A Home on Al-Mutabbi Street was created as part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition‘s ongoing project, in remembrance of the bombing which occurred in Baghdad on March 5th, 2007. The event tragically altered the historic centre of Baghdad’s bookselling culture. The coalition formed ‘Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here’ as a response, a collection of artist books, broadsides, exhibitions, and readings involving work from artists in more than 20 countries.

Reading Richard’s poem in relation to this project was an inspiring starting point, and having the Arabic translation to work with made it even more meaningful. For me, the poetry evokes nostalgia, the strength found in simplicity, the age-old comfort of having a home to come back to. I designed the broadside with a traditional book in mind, opened for the reader, to not only reflect the images found in the writing, but to see both English and Arabic balanced and framed on the page.

Printed at the Banff Centre for the Arts, letterpress and watercolour. Poetry by Richard Harrison, translation by Antoine Sassine. Edition of 40, 2012.

Paper is light-grey Canson, letterpressed using dark-grey ink. English text is typeset in Book Antiqua, Arabic is printed using photopolymer plate; the broadside is finished with a hand-painted watercolour trim in Payne’s Grey.

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