Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Unfolding Projects: Afghani and Australian Artist Book Collaborations

In 2009 Artist/Curator Gali Weiss approached a number of Australian artists with the proposal that each produce a small concertina book of images that would form the basis of a dialogue with Afghani women, who would be invited to respond to the images by adding their own texts to the books.

The fourteen artists are Rosalind Atkins, Tracey Avery, Marian Crawford, Ann Cunningham, Dianne Ellis, Susan Gordon-Brown, Jennifer Kamp, Deborah Klein, Ann Riggs, Annelise Scott, Krystal Seigerman, Tanya Ungeri, Gali Weiss and Christine Willcocks.

The books were flown to Afghanistan in mid April.

Here is an excerpt from Gali's website:
"The project is a response to the dire situation of many women in Afghanistan, particularly in relation to literacy. Women in Afghanistan have for years experienced extreme hardships not only due to war but specifically because of their gender. Many women are illiterate because they were and often still are, forbidden, restricted, or discouraged to go to school or complete their education.

Currently, with the assistance of SAWA – Australia (Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan), http://www.sawa-australia.org/, 53 books have been delivered to a vocational training centre in Kabul where women are gaining literacy skills for the first time in their lives. The 53 books comprise the concertinas pictured above and their multiples.

The intent of the artists participating in this project has been to mobilise a process of support and dialogue with Afghani women, that at the same time conveys, “You/we are not alone.” The books can become a conversation – a conversation between women who are in different places, in different circumstances, but who wish to share a voice.

We now await the responses from Afghanistan."

Above: Photograph by Gali Weiss.

To view individual artist's books go to: