Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle

London Art Book Fair Twitter account by Whitechapel Gallery, London 13.09.2013. Image by Whitechapel Gallery.
I'm excited to announce that 'Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle' on Friday September 13, 2013 was awarded the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust Award of Excellence at the London Art Book Fair 2013 at Whitechapel Gallery in London, UK. One copy is now held at the National Art Collection, Word & Image Department at Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
I'm honoured to receive this prize for the second time in my career. Thank you to the selection panel of the Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust.

Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)
In September 2010 I accepted the call to the project: 'An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street' initiated by Beau Beausoleil (USA) in July 2010 and co-curated by Sarah Bodman (UK).

The purpose of the project is to “reassemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the 5th of March 2007 car bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad, Iraq – a street known for its booksellers – the literary and intellectual heart and soul for the community of Baghdad. On this day 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.

The international project will be raising funds for Médecins Sans Frontières while also honouring Al-Mutanabbi Street by creating work that holds both "memory and future" of what was lost that day.

Each artist has had a year to complete the work and has donated 3 copies to the project. One will be donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad. The other two copies are touring for the next few years in conjunction with shows of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project as well as in shows of their own.

See a list of artists and exhibitions and further details of the project:

Article The Guardian by Ellie Violet Bramley, January 2014 www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/21/literary-project-baghdad-bookselling-district
Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)
Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle
Baghdad was once founded and built in a circular way and its name at the time was: Madinat al-Salaam or ‘City of Peace’. This has a sad irony now - and, being a child of the early 1970’s, I only associated Baghdad with death and war - rather than peace - from watching so many television news reports.

From the outside the conflict feels never-ending – with no resolution in sight – a tragic vicious circle. This book represents that but is also a tribute to Al Mutanabbi Street – a street where thoughts and ideas were – and are – exchanged in book form.

Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)
Laser engraved covers onto grey boards (by Tom Sowden, UWE Bristol), inkjet printed text and hand-cut and burnt illustrations by the artist. Papers: Fabriano Accademia, white 200 gsm & 160 gsm. Binding: pamphlet stitched.
Size: 20 x 20 cm
Edition of 10 – of which 3 copies have been donated to the project.
Completed in February 2013 – 1 year, 5 month and 7 days late!

In the public collection of Manchester Metropolitan University Library All Saints, Tate Collection, William Allan Neilson Library at Smith College Mass. USA, the National Art Collections, Word & Image Department at Victoria & Albert Museum, San Francisco Center for the Book, CA, USA and the Artists’ Books Collection Winchester School of Art Library, Winchester, UK. Also held by international private collectors. The edition is sold out.

The book was launched at the Bristol Artists Book Event (BABE) at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK – April 20-21, 2013

The first group show for it to be part of was:
The John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK – February 6 - July 29, 2013
Center for Book Arts, New York City, in collaboration with Poets House, New York City –  July 10 - September 14, 2013

The book was submitted for the Minnisota Center for Book Arts Prize 2013 – further details of the book can be seen: http://mcbaprize.org/ambeck/

The book was also on display at The Sheffield International Artist's Book Prize 2013 exhibition at Bank Street Arts, UK.

Al-Mutanabbi Street – a vicious circle (2013)