Art Exhibit: 'Absence & Presence - A Printmaking Response to the Bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street'

November 2, 2015 - December 20, 2015

Student Center, Hoon Keith Quiet Study Lounge


The Curry College Fine and Applied Arts department is proud to bring 'Absence and Presence: A Printmaking Response to the Bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street' to the Curry campus.  The second (prints 26-50) of two fall exhibits will run November 2 - December 20 and will be displayed in the Hoon Keith Quiet Study Lounge Gallery in the Student Center.

Blog: Curry Fine Arts students participate in service project inspired by "Absence and Presence"

About 'Absence and Presence'

This collection of prints is called Absence and Presence. Artists were asked to respond to the 2007 car bombing of the literary district of al-Mutanabbi Street, Baghdad, Iraq. Lives were lost, people were wounded and buildings were destroyed. This act of terrorism obliterated what was for centuries the cultural soul of the city where people gathered to exchange ideas in peace. The street is named after the famous poet, al-Mutanabbi, and was known throughout the world as a center of publishing and trading books written in many languages.

Beau Beausoleil spearheaded the project with the book Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, published in 2010.  At its heart, this project is about freedom of speech, access to information, the power of the written word and the visual image, and the preservation of spaces in which to share these ideas. The artists of Absence and Presence are using their artwork to make a collective stand against censorship and to bear witness to ongoing attacks on free speech as they emerge around the world. They cite the moment of the car bombing of the literary district of Baghdad as their call to action. "I have come to feel that wherever someone gathers their thoughts to write towards the truth, or where someone sits down and opens a book to read, it is there that al-Mutanabbi Street starts." -Beau Beausoleil

Two-hundred and sixty artists answered the invitation, working in a variety of printmaking methods. Each was asked to gift five prints, 11" x 15," to the project and was given a year to complete them. At this point the prints have just begun their travels. Eventually, one set will be donated to the National Library of Iraq as a symbolic placeholder for what was lost. Another set will be housed at The Herron Fine Press and Book Arts Collection at Indiana University-Perdue, IN.

The project is not a commercial venture; the works of art are not for sale. Their collective value is in the message they carry.


Campus Calendar

Campus events, game days, important dates, deadlines and more.

Directions & Maps

Find directions to Curry College, along with helpful campus maps.

Meet Our People

Meet the outstanding students, faculty and alumni of Curry College.

Follow Us

Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Watch us on YouTube...and more!


© Curry College 1071 Blue Hill Ave, Milton, Massachusetts 02186 | 617-333-0500