April 1 - 30Opening
: Friday, April 2
7:30 - 9:30 pm
300 Page Street
The San Francisco Zen Center is proud to announce the first US exhibition of the al-Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project—in its entirety of 130 works—commemorating the 2007 car bombing of Baghdad’s al-Mutanabbi Street. Please join SFZC on Friday, April 2 for the exhibition opening, featuring a poetry reading by contributing authors from the anthology Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,
including project founder, Beau Beausoleil.
As the historic center of Baghdad book-selling, al-Mutanabbi Street—named for the famed 10th century classical Arab poet—is a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. It had been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. Though it ran through an area that primarily consisted of Shia and Sunni Muslims, the street was visited by all Iraqis.
Letterpress printing has historically been the platform by which many cultures found out about current events. Put up quickly in the places where people walk and gather, their visually bold and easily accessible messages spread the word simply and concisely. The Al-Mutanabbi Street collection, which includes works from artists around the globe, likewise announces that this attack on culture took place, establishing its inclusion as part of a cultural community that has no geographic bounds. These Broadsides provide a visible starting place for our collective grief or aspirations for a more just society; the al-Mutanabbi Street Broadsides ask what it means to erase culture.
The Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition has been organizing readings and other events since April 2007. Over 130 letterpress printers have contributed broadsides to this project that speak to the enduring power of poetry and art.