‘Al-Mutanabbi Street’ Project Coming to Cairo

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here founder Beau Beausoleil announced yesterday that the book-art exhibition he collected, with the help of many others, is now slated to come to Cairo in March 2014. That will be seven years after the bombing of the traditional booksellers street of Baghdad.

The project has called on book artists to create three copies of their response to the bombing: about the “strength and fragility of books.” One complete set of book art will be donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad, and the other two are touring: The collection has appeared in several universities, museums, and galleries, including Florida Atlantic University, Corcoran School of Art + Design, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the New Mexico History Museum, and UCLA.

Beausoleil said this past April that, “By the end of 2012 we will have about 260 artists book responses to the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street. We have, in the last few weeks, added to the project an Iraqi Book Artist who lives in Baghdad.”

He said that, for the Cairo event, the AUC Press and AUC Library plan to bring in Iraqi artists and writers from Cairo and Jordan. “They have agreed to readings, and panels addressing some of the issues that we have raised.”

The exhibit, he said, is set to “open on March 5th to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street.” The exhibit will probably first take place at the AUC Library (AUC new campus) and then move to the AUC Press (AUC Tahir campus/downtown).


Some of the broadsides.

A video of a reading at the Double Elephant Print Workshop in the UK.

More about the project.

Upcoming exhibitions schedule.

An essay about al-Mutanabbi Street by author Lutfiya al-Duleimi, trans. Hosam Aboul-ela. It begins: “Before I was born in al-Mutanabbi Street, I was no one. I could deny the documents that made reference to my birth on a particular day of the year or a certain province of the country. I was a mere small woman without a place in this world. Then I was born on al-Mutanabbi Street the day my first book was published–A Passage to the Sadness of Men.”