Ashland, Oregon:: Jubilation Press,, 2015.. Edition of 8. Book: 10.5 x 7.25 x .1" closed, 21" open; 4 text leaves 5 x 7", map page 10.5 x 7". Hand-inked intaglio prints highlight the text and map of ancient Mesopotamia. Map page printed on Hahnemühle Etching paper. English text set in Koufiya, Arabic text set in BFantezy. Text pages printed on rice paper. Bound pamphlet stitch on the left and right sides and wrapper of Hahnemühle Etching paper to form split cover for gatefold opening. Images of two ancient cuneiforms on wrapper. 5 x 3.5" colophon card laid in. Signed and numbered by the artist. Laid in 11.5 x 7.75 x 1.25" custom cloth-covered clamshell box. Bottom slanted with ribbon lift for book. Portfolio lid features a miniature cuneiform of a dream journal made from paper clay and painted with acrylics. Images of cuneiforms obtained from The British Library. Cathy DeForest: "Within 24 hours of the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad in 2007, ten poets and several actors staged performances. At great risk, they gathered to celebrate the long history of the street as welcoming and housing the art forms, written and pictorial, that have graced the rich hsitory of the region. As a sister artist, the minute I heard of their courageous acts, I wanted a way to stand with them by creating a piece that would honor them and their culture. "These poets stood in the debris of the bombing, but they also stood on the shoulders of our common ancestors, those who formed the first letters in clay cuneiforms, five thousand years ago. I have long been fascinated with the crucial developments of ancient Mesopotamia and its achievements: the invention of writing, the creation of sophisticated art and literature, scientific discoveries that still influence life today. As poet, Abdul-Zehra Zeki said in his 2007 Manifesto of the Poets of Baghdad, ancient Mesopotamia 'was the center of civilization,' and Baghdad was 'one of the largest cities of enlightenment in history.' "When I discovered that the cuneiform on the right was a dream journal from Babylonia (circa 5th centruy BCE), I felt that it embodied the dreams of the Al-Mutanabbi poets in the 21st century. I wanted each viewer to have a visceral experience with the beauty of humankind's first writing. Today we see maps of Iraq and connote it with terrorism and great suffering. I chose to replace those images with the map of the Fertile Crescent, one of the greatest sources of cultural riches. "I realize how privlieged I am to create this piece. I am deeply aware there are many who are not free to create or even read books. I dedicate this piece to all who, like the Baghdad poets who proclaimed their Manifesto, risk their lives daily to protect artifacts and sacred books in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, and beyond. May each of us answer the call of the poets to cherish and preserve the treasures of our global heritage." Our Immortal Soul was created for "Absence and Presence" Exhibition as part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Project, a project featuring the work of over 500 artists from around the world exhibited internationally since 2008. Our Immortal Soul was chosen by the Guild of Book Workers as part of their Vessel Exhibition that is touring the US from 2015-2017.
(Inventory #: 22039)
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