'Words from Beau Beausoleil - Founder of the Al Mutanabbi Street Project
Dear Al-Mutanabbi Street Printmakers
First, I want to thank all the printmakers who have signed on to our project. I don't take your commitment or participation lightly. You will be an important part of this project and represent all of us in many venues in the coming years. Your work will engender conversation, dialogue, and add another strong visual lexicon that will speak to the world at large.
This is part of an email that I recently sent to our coordinators for Absence and Presence.
I want our project printmakers to struggle with the ideas of this project, I want them to discard what comes easy, based on what they have already done, I want a new direction of thought manifested in their print. There needs to be sharp edges in these prints that catch hold of memory and breath.
I know that I write my thoughts and ideas as a poet does, and that doesn't often translate into hard concrete terms. But I am trying to stir your heart and purpose in this, trying to encourage you to shake off what you already do so well. Like all our other artists responses to the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street we are asking for an almost impossible piece of art that holds more than one idea. It needs to come from a deep part of yourself, as close to the bone as you have ever gotten. In even the most subtle image it needs to hold enough truth to quiet all the everyday noise that runs across the body of any exhibit goer. Because when all that noise is quieted a person can begin to actually hear their own life. And that is where this project starts its work.
So we need unflinching prints that come at the truth through beauty, rawness, or even chaos. It needs to hold both a lament and a shred of hope in its lines and colors. And they should have a certain "uncomfortableness" about them. We are not trying to salve anyone's consciousness about anything, we are not telling someone with this work that they have contributed something by merely coming to the exhibit. Your print needs to stay with them and to hopefully move them to do something. Maybe with us, but maybe with another social justice activist organization.
And the bottom line is that your print needs to be recognizable to any Iraqi Woman or Man.
All my best, Beau'
I am interested in continuing my work with the circles and crosses that I did before Christmas and am also interested in continuing with my braille work. perhaps finding a way to combine the two into a mixture of embossing and screen print. I have been thinking about writing something (maybe poetry) to emboss over a circle/cross drawing. I am going to spend the next few days experimenting with these ideas.