An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street
On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. Al-Mutanabbi Street is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded.
Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and even tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.
The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition issued a call to book artists to work on a project to “re-assemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street. They asked book artists to join the project and further enhance the work of the Coalition by honoring al-Mutanabbi Street, by creating work that holds both “memory and future,” exactly what was lost that day.
The coalition asked each Book Artist who joins the project to complete three books (or other paper material) in the course of a year, books that reflect both the strength and fragility of books, but also show the endurance of the ideas within them.
One complete set of 130 responses to this call will be donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad. The other two sets will be used in conjunction with shows of the broadsides as well as in shows of their own.