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

Ode to Mutanabbi

Artist's Statement

Attention to detail and a passion to create a superb piece of work was paramount ... as we are MA Book Arts students it was natural that our idea became book-related. Together with Beau's spur to “print something amazing,” the project began: close to our hearts, yet with layers of meaning, linking directly to al-Mutanabbi. The historical significance of this man and this street, and the importance of language. Sitting quietly on the shelves of the reference section of the University library was an Arabic - English dictionary; a book that reaches across cultures - an object celebrating the form, rhythm, & visual beauty of language. We opened up the book by chance, to reveal the page heading "injustice"... how perfect ...As we read through the columns, significant numbers of words matched our thoughts & feelings, and we began to form our visual response to such a devastating event. A book mark was placed on this page, as a metaphor - an indication of remembrance. Al-Mutanabbi's words were printed on to the book mark to reflect, enrich & enliven the contextual narrative of the dictionary pages. We wanted the image to appear as real & tactile as possible - thus beckoning the viewer to engage with us, in a visual and textual expression of the experience of others - the reality of which, we can only imagine.

Thank you to all involved in this project for giving us such an opportunity. Our print would not have been possible without the inimitable tuition & technical expertise of Tom Sowden.