"To Make You See" by Suzanne Sawyer". "I created To Make You See for The Al Mutanabbi Street Book Arts Coalition Project. It contains quotes from Joseph Conrad, English novelist of Polish descent (b. 1857- d. 1921), and Lucius Annaes Seneca, Roman philosopher (circa 4 BC – AD 65). Conrad remarked on the power of the written word to invoke awareness and Seneca remarked on the search for meaning as well as grieving, or allowing tears to fall, as a method for finding inner peace. The quotes overlay a map of Baghdad including the Al-Mutanabbi Street area and were chosen for their connection to the importance of books and reading as common ground for all people, as well as to highlight Seneca’s advice to allow ourselves to grieve as a method for achieving harmony as opposed to conjuring violence."
"The Cycle of Censorship" by Dina Scheel. "This is a moveable book. To tell its story, it rotates through the middle in a flexagon-like infinite loop movement. The cycle begins with the aftermath of an act of censorship, such as the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street on March 5, 2007. The black represents censorship and oppression of ideas, which the censorship is attempting to control. However, ideas cannot be contained. As the book moves, gold (symbolizing ideas) begins to emerge amidst the darkness. It then radiates outward with gold lines as it spreads. Finally, the ideas are accepted and adopted into the culture as shown by the gold flecks. The original ideas then breed new ideas, which in turn raise hackles and cause some to want to suppress or censor them. Thus the black begins to return until we are back to the start with an act of censorship and the cycle begins anew. Book structure is based on Yami Yamauchi’s origami form called 'Fireworks.'"
"Are Women Human?" by Cynthia Schubert. "Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic of alarming proportions, deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination. No woman or girl is entirely free of its risks or reach. It takes many forms and occurs in many places. One in three women in the world is a victim of violence. An essay from Catherine MacKinnon’s book Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues was used for the artwork’s text. I created a template from a doll’s dress sewn by my grandmother. The original mulberry papers were dyed with gouache, walnut ink and rusty nails, and the text was written with 4B graphite. The edition was printed with ink jet on unbleached mulberry paper and each is packaged in a miniature handmade grocery sack."
"Mix and Match Families" by Jaime Lynn Shafer. "In the USA, family is a flexible and fluid idea, constantly changing as our society grows and develops an understanding for the people who live here. This fluidity is essential and what I wished to explore. Mix and Match Families is an artists’ book that address these ideas. The imagery for the book began while I photographed families and individuals in Washington, D.C. I removed the original background from the images and placed them on solid colored backgrounds. The solid colored backgrounds indicate the original family unit in the artists’ book. The book is designed so that the viewer can flip through the pages altering the family (much like a children’s flip book) to include same sex families, heterosexual families, and interracial families." Mix and Match Families won a Best in Show Award in the Book Power Redux exhibition.
"No Refills Left" by Jaime Lynn Shafer. "No Refills Left addresses prescription drug abuse from the first-person and the omniscient. The text allows the reader to experience the denial and the reality of the addiction. Text has been crossed out revealing one singular word per page."
"Gun Metaphors" by Lynn Skordal. "Guns and gun violence are deeply ingrained in American life. The book was created several months after the murder of 20 children and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Haven, CT. The shooter was another angry young man with guns, bought for him this time by his mother, a gun enthusiast. She was his first victim. By one estimate there are 83 gun-related deaths in America each and every day. Gun Metaphors takes aim at language, and its target is the gun imagery we all use in everyday life. Why are we are such a violent society? Can it be changed? Should we start by thinking more about what we say and how we say it?"
"Attempted Fix" by Tyler Starr. "Attempted Fix: Dams Bases and the Resulting Wobbles in Japan explores cross-relationships between the anti-dam and anti-U.S. military base protest movements. Factual data and historical references amassed during seven years of research in Japan are imbued with poetic associations and offered as points of departure for the reader. Unintended consequences and contradictory intentions that commonly appear in politics, protest movements, construction projects and everyday desires are explored as essential to the attempts to “fix” perceived wrongs in the world. The word “wallowing” encapsulates a critical element of this work and has several definitions. One is to revel in an emotion. Another is to struggle through something like mud. Attempted Fix commemorates these dual human conditions."
"Don't take your guns to town" by Mary Uthuppuru. "I created this book in response to the gun tragedies that have overwhelmed the news within the last few years. They were so numerous that I found myself in a perpetual state of sadness and disappointment. The tragedies left me with a lump in my throat and a slew of questions about human nature that I sought answers to. What drives us to pick up a gun? What urges us to use one? Why guns in the first place? Is owning a gun worth the potential hazards? Looking to contemporary media and literature, I explored the debate for and against gun control. Before long, I turned to music and found myself connecting with Johnny Cash’s “Don’t take your guns to town.” The song addresses a scenario that is still relevant today, and while it doesn’t answer all of my questions that still persist, it is a lens through which I can see another viewpoint."
"Displaced on the Fault Lines" by Elsi Vassdal Ellis. "Displaced on the Fault Lines is the beginning of a series exploring questions of identity related to physical and metaphysical place and displacement, mythology, dehumanization, war and/or genocide. This textually dense book is the first of two volumes. The first volume begins with the internal displacement of my mother and her family in Norway and their experiences during World War II. That then connects to the Holocaust through Nazi concentration camps (her cousin spent three years in Dachau). Questions raised in the Jewish chapter explore collective as well as individual identities. From the Holocaust, the narrative moves to the plight of ethnic Germans at the end of the Second World War, their expulsion from Central and Eastern European communities due to the post-war redefining of borders as well as “pay-back.” It moves forward to Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda with connections to the issues of identity, mythology and genocide."
"What's in a Name Cowgirl Blues" by Elsi Vassdal Ellis. "Kids bullying kids, athletes bullying athletes. We are living in an age of verbal and physical, as well as cyber bullies. The torments of bullies become tattooed on the heart. What’s in a Name Cowgirl Blues recounts my 6th grade victimization at the hands of new classmates when a 12-year-old “introduced” to Elsie, the Cow, spokes-cow for Borden’s dairy products. Without intervention by my teacher, I became more withdrawn or, as she told my parents, “I didn’t communicate.” I ended the taunting by taking on the largest kid in the class."
"my not so ordinary life" by Christine Wagner. I created this book as part of a series of books that examines my personal experience with domestic violence. Through vellum pages with calligraphy typed text, wax and burning, I tell the story of a camping trip one August weekend that changed my life and almost ended it as well. Intertwined within my story are the statistics of those that share a similar experience.