On Display: Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
NEW YORK, July 16, 2013 –

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here on July 16.  The exhibition, coordinated by the CUL/IS Global Studies Division and the Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research, will be on display on the third floor of Butler Library until September 21, 2013.


The exhibition is part of an international project by book artists to respond to the tragic bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad on March 5, 2007. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here exhibition is a tribute to those killed and wounded that day and reflects on the intellectual freedom, human rights and violence in a time of war. It will be held in five New York City cultural venues from mid-June until late September 2013. Information about other exhibition sites can be found on the exhibition page

Al-Mutanabbi Street is the centuries-old center of book selling in Baghdad, known for bookstores, cafes and outdoor book vendors. It was named after a 10th century classical Arab poet and has long been the historic heart of the Baghdad intellectual community.

The exhibition was created by Beau Beausoleil, the Founder of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition, and Sara Bodman and features book arts created by international artists from 26 countries. It was organized in NYC by the Center for Book Arts. A complete set of all the books on display in NYC has recently been donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad.

 “The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the bombing in Al-Mutanabbi Street and is a reminder that the right to a free exchange of ideas and culture can never be taken for granted,” said Peter Magierski, Middle East & Islamic Studies Librarian and coordinator of the Columbia exhibition. “With this year’s somber anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq, this is also an opportunity to reflect on the impact of violence on civilians and on cultural, literary, and artistic institutions.”

The display at Columbia, which includes 60 art books and several broadsheets, will be highlighted by artists’ talks and panel discussion scheduled at Butler Library on September 17, 2013. Additional information will be posted on the exhibition page

The Global Studies Division develops research collections from and about many regions of the world in a wide range of languages and acquires collections that support the study and research of global processes and topics. In addition to supporting students, faculty, and researchers in the Columbia community, our collections serve as preeminent resources for scholars beyond Columbia.  For more information visit the Global Studies website: library.columbia.edu/locations/global.html.

The Center for Human Rights Documentation &  Research supports the community of teachers, students, researchers, and law and social justice advocates working in the multidisciplinary sphere of human rights.  The Center, established in 2005, is part of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services.  The CHRDR website is the central access point for its activities, archives, and research resources: library.columbia.edu/indiv/humanrights.htm

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.

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