Book art about violence -

"Echoes" by Islam Aly. "I made this book to document the words that were repeated in the streets of Cairo during the Egyptian Spring of 2011 when millions of protesters from a variety of socioeconomic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime. The people repeated the three words: Bread [livelihood], Freedom, and Social Justice. I used Arabic Kufic script and spelled the words “Eish, Horeya, Adala Egtemaeya” —Bread, Freedom and Social Justice. These words are repeated over and over in different ways along the 30 sections. The book is an effort to remember and reflect on these events. It also serves as a reminder for the revolution’s main demands. Additionally, the book incorporates details of Cairo’s streets on the front and backboards. Cairo’s map is also laser engraved on three edges of the book."


"Sunt Lacrimae Rerum" by Amaranth Borsuk. "Created in response to the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad’s street of booksellers, Sunt Lacrimae Rerum mourns the loss of both books and bodies. It takes its title from Aeneas’s words of sorrow uttered before a Carthaginian mural depicting the Trojan War. Tragedy must be brought home to us, but how can we relay the depths of loss—a very idea predicated on absence? This reliquary is part lachrymatory: it contains a book whose text of tears is designed to tear away at itself each time the book is displayed. Pleated into an accordion, it plays the elegy for its own effacement as, gradually, the cut-out letters catch on one another, pulling themselves up and off the page until they may fall away entirely. Not only is the book’s texture designed to transform, but its text does as well: page by page, one letter of the phrase changes at each turn. Although right now, 'these are the tears of things,' over time we might enter a space 'where all the tears embraced.'"


"Safe Distance" by Kate Boyes. "Safe Distance explores a surreal phenomenon: the conscious or subconscious creation by an individual of a profound disconnect between the mind and the body. Some people who experience prolonged physical violence and abuse use this as a survival technique. I used the technique to survive a violent relationship. Living in my mind was the only way I could cope when everything about my physical existence hurt. Both the violence and the phenomenon have lasting effects, and survivors are often described as closed up, bristly, perpetually on edge. Those descriptors guided my construction of the book. A strap holds the book tightly closed and makes a ripping sound when opened; pointed sweet gum pods poke the hand slightly when the book is held; and the strap holds the book on edge when it is on display. The text for Safe Distance is a poem I wrote while experiencing the mind-body disconnect."


"Assume the Position" by Ginger Burrell. "I walked into a full body scanner at airport security and was asked to stand with my feet apart and my arms held up. At that point I realized that we’ve become both victims and assumed criminals in choosing to travel by air. We are holding not only the position that a robber would demand, “put ‘em up,” but also the position of body searches commanded by the police, “put your hands above your head and spread ‘em.” To capture these feelings I photographed people with their hands up from behind and then used digital manipulation to alter the images to evoke the x-rays to which we are now subjected. Finally, I added text with sayings that a TSA agent, a police officer and a criminal might say to any of us."


"Sandy Hook" by Ginger Burrell "Sandy Hook" by Ginger Burrell. "Sandy Hook memorializes the 20 children and six staff members killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. When the shooting happened, I felt compelled to do something. Perhaps it was my 15 years as a pre-school director. Perhaps it was the thought of my nieces and nephews who trustingly go off to school every day. Certainly it was because of our short social memory and the way important events fade quickly after they are no longer in the headlines. In thinking about how to represent the children and school staff who were killed, I settled on the idea of using teddy bears for the children and apples for the adults. After spending several days purchasing individual bears and apples, I began taking the school portraits. It got harder and harder as I worked on the book, and taking the group photo left me in tears. I couldn’t help but think of all the group photos those children would never be in: graduation, weddings and countless family portraits. All of the artist’s profits will be donated to the United Way for the Newton Community."


"Never Again, Again" by Lark Burkhart. "The systematic murder of six million European Jews has haunted me since childhood. How could it even happen? Genocide—a horror so huge it needed a new word. Slowly, the world community, through the United Nations, has begun struggling with the need to prevent crimes against humanity. The Responsibility to Protect is emerging as an international mandate following the failure of peacekeeping in Rwanda. Atrocities against civilians are still with us, but perhaps we are inching our way toward making Never Again more than an empty promise."


"Fragile Gains" by Fiona Dempster "Fragile Gains" by Fiona Dempster. "In my mind, many of the gains women have made remain fragile and require vigilance to ensure that they are not lost. In many places, the gains really are fragile and can be lost through a change in government or through less than democratic processes. These fragile, burnt pages leave behind reminders of the gains we need to safeguard. The strength and resilience of the metal confirms for us the strength and resilience of women."


"Soldier's Heart" by Mari Eckstein Gower. "My father, like many who fought in World War II, suffered from nightmares triggered by his experiences. For his generation, this wasn’t something one spoke about, as if his responses were a weakness or shameful. I’m thankful that today the effects of trauma are being studied and treated, and that we’re beginning to understand that PTSD is not only a social issue but political as well. In my book, Soldier’s Heart, I explore the subject of PTSD, looking to historical portrayals of the effects of warfare and the ways PTSD has been described in the past. The book design is inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, which is packed with surprising descriptive details. I’ve also referenced Egyptian, Assyrian, Mayan and Celtic artifacts."


"Direction" by Yingzi Guo. "Five years ago, I found a song and I loved it right away. For Them by Troye Sivan, is written from the view of a child seeing another side of the world, with war, death, crying, the simplest definition of sadness. The angel-like voice of the naive life inspired me. I started forming an idea to make an art piece based on it. The book can be folded to look like part of a street. Connected by the ground beneath, this is the edge between two sides of the world in a child’s eyes. There is only a short transition between two sides, but that’s what 'good' and 'bad' mean to a child. This also leaves a question of “black and white” for adults. Behind the street, are the lyrics of For Them as the innocent voice of a child. For them, for the beginning of their lives, which side would you leave behind?"


"Self Soothing" by Ian Hampton. "This book was created as a response to the trauma of male rape. I thought about rape, and from this single word, began collecting images and other words. The images came out as a stream of consciousness, each connecting to the last by a thread. The images are tied together into a circle, indicating how they keep repeating."


"9/11/2001" by Karen Koshgarian. "September 11, 2001 was the day that slapped me awake politically. I chose to make an altered book using a 2001 CA State Political Handbook. Like the towers, the book is tall and thin. I cut away pages in the center vertically, to represent the towers, and then covered the book in photographs I took of the Twin Towers in 1980, and finally, I used news photos showing the events as they happened that day. The final touch was creating an enclosure clasp with two charms that came to me serendipitously. The front cover has an airplane and the back has a fireman’s hat etched FDNY. Once I finished this book, my obsession with the event subsided, but my political awareness was now fully awake."


"What We Carried" by Jim Lommasson "What We Carried" by Jim Lommasson. “You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You will own it all.” —General Colin Powell

"Over four million Iraqis have fled their homes since the 2003 invasion. These refugees didn’t leave their country to get a better job or because of a natural disaster. They left because of a brutal dictator and industrial warfare that has virtually destroyed their country. The long journey from the Republic of Iraq to the United States of America may take months, sometimes years, and includes refugee camps, piles of documents and occasionally bribery. Iraqi refugees brought these objects with them on their journey to America. The objects range from photos of family, a Qur’an or a piece of jewelry to traditional family heirlooms. The objects have been photographed and then contextualized on the photographic print by the Iraqi participant. The participants’ additions transform the works into powerful, breathtaking documentations."


"rise" by Sarah S. Mallory "rise" by Sarah S. Mallory. "In 2013 an estimated 744 minors died from gun violence in the United States. rise is a 371 page accordion book displaying each death of a minor that was a result of gun violence in the United States in 2013. Each day of the last calendar year has a page in the book with the numerical date as well as the number of deaths, represented by a cut out upward flying dove. Some pages show no deaths, some pages show up to 9 in one day. Viewing or reading rise is an active memorial. The volume and depth of the book, the repetition in the format, the knowledge that each rising dove represents an individual lost, the knowledge that in this country minors are by law supposed to be separated from gun ownership and possession, turning through the cut out pages of rise is a meditation for the hands and mind to move through. All of the data and research for rise was collected from’s report on gun violence after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December 2012."


"I’d Take Away the Guns" by Lorinda Moholt "I'd Take Away the Guns" by Lorinda Moholt. "This book was made in sadness and anger as a protest against gun violence. It was done with everyday materials to symbolize the ordinariness of that horror, newspaper clippings to show the grim result of killing children, and a Cheryl Wheeler poem that speculates on who might do these terrible things. It is kept in a sack made of the cloth container for No.8 hard lead shot. I realize that gun legislation is a complicated and frustrating issue but continue to believe that strong words and sensible people will eventually win over assault rifles with 30-cartridge magazines. After this book was finished, I shot it from the back at close range with a 22-caliber rifle. (I hated doing it.)"


"Apartheid" by Nancy Orr "Apartheid" by Nancy Orr. "I made this book to raise awareness of the conditions in Occupied Palestine beyond the information I’ve shared with my family, neighbors and social media friends. I was shocked when I heard a Palestinian Christian priest speak in 2013 about the conditions in which Palestinians live under Israeli military rule. How did I not know about this? I had read of the controversial Israeli Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I was unaware this was only one section of Israel’s long record violating international laws and human rights standards in their treatment of the Palestinian people. I am stunned that after demanding the end of Apartheid in South Africa, the United States has supported establishing a similarly cruel, racist system of Apartheid in Occupied Palestine with billions of U.S. citizens’ tax dollars. I am appalled to be financially contributing to the forcible removal, segregation and daily harassment of Palestinian families in Jerusalem and the West Bank."


"A sun that rises" by Bettina Pauly "A sun that rises" by Bettina Pauly. "The text I used for A sun that rises is taken from the documentary A Candle for Shabandar Cafe, filmed and directed by Emad Ali, Baghdad Film School, in 2007. Abdul Satar (Abu Ali) is shown in the documentary standing in front of the Shabandar Cafe while holding vigil for all the people who died in the car bombing. He is talking about destruction throughout the centuries, continuing cruel violence and ends with the words “there is still a sun that rises and there is hope despite all the destruction.” This after the bombing had taken toll on his family, his business, his livelihood. With the choice of colors—the etching pulled in a grey/black, the letterpress printed text in a dark red/brown, the stitching a dark red, the silk ribbon a vibrant red, the box covered in a smoky black—I am trying to give this piece the feeling of destruction, smoke, flames, blood, the scars left behind. The vibrant color of the ribbon is the color of the sunrise seen through air thick with smoke. Created for the Al Mutanabbi Street Book Arts Coalition Project."


"Displaced" by Linda Piacentini-Yaple "Displaced" by Linda Piacentini-Yaple. "The Holocaust. It is a subject I have visited in my bookmaking many times. As the decades move on, our memories fade. The witnesses are no longer alive to speak. It is even more crucial to remind ourselves that these events took place. We need to teach young people that the integrity of our humanity towards others is always at risk and that the sepia images of the past are the reminders of our own failings."


"To Make You See" by Suzanne Sawyer "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."


"Gun Metaphors" by Lynn Skordal "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?"


"Don’t take your guns to town" by Mary Uthuppuru "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."


"my not so ordinary life" by Christine Wagner "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.