Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
- Naguib Mahfouz
In March of 2007 Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic center of bookselling, and the heart of the literary and intellectual community in the city of Baghdad, was left severely damaged in the wake of a car bomb explosion.
Beau Beausoleil, a bookseller in San Francisco, felt that this attack on the cultural wellness of Baghdad warranted a response. With this conviction as his guide, he began to rally a community of international artists and writers to produce a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides, artists’ books and an anthology of writings. This alliance of contributors now calls itself the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Coalition. All the work created by the coalition was purposed with expressing solidarity with the Iraqi booksellers, readers, and writers who were affected by the bombing.
Today that same collection of work that was catalyzed by Beausoleil 8 years ago now travels with the goal of promoting awareness for the lasting power of the written word. The coalition desires to propagate knowledge of the importance of the arts in the expression of ideas, as well as in response to attacks on artists, writers, and academics working in the midst of oppression.
This month in Gallery No. 2, the Harrison Center, in partnership with the IUPUI University Library, presents Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.