Al-Mutanabbi
Street Broadsides
  Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition project
––one of only ten in the world––

Discouraging Words


 

 

Artist's Statement

 This image (and text) is a continuation and elaboration of my own strategy of closing the distance between language and art that I first began in 1970 as a graduate student in philosophy. The Al-Mutanabbi Street piece is more specifically a meditation on the themes of words as swords, the violence that accompanies ideological disputes, and the censorship of bombs & burning books.

As I wrote on the last page of the text (censored by a darkness): "Discouraging Words was printed in response to the bombing of Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, Iraq on March 5th 2007. Mutanabbi Street, named after the tenth-century classical Arab poet al-Mutanabbi is known as the historic center of Baghdad’s bookselling district. The printing press and the pen are the swords that are feared and the swords that are loved by all who can and all who cannot read. May the light and not the darkness from these swords fall on the streets of the booksellers and the cafés and workshops that line them everywhere."