Join our photography project!

Beau Beausoleil writes:

We have launched our Photography Project, Shadow And Light. The photograph at the bottom of this message is my own and is dedicated to:

Mustafa al-Hity: PhD in medicine, pediatrician, College of Medicine, Baghdad University. Assassinated 14 November 2005.

He is number 32 on a list of more than 300 targeted and assassinated academics during the years 2003-2012. I am looking for other writers and artists, printers and book artists’, academics, translators, and teachers to join this project.

Click onto the link to those academics who were assassinated and pick someone, that is the first step to joining this project.

I am pasting in the call below – Please Write Me !

In Solidarity, 


Dear Project Members,

I am writing to you specifically as fellow artists, writers, poets, activists, image-makers, printers, teachers/academics, translators, and amateur and professional photographers. The Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project has added a fourth visual call and response (in addition to the broadside/letter press response, the artists’ book response (including our small bookmark project), and the printmaking response).

This time, the intention is to take from historical invisibility—-to memorialize and to honor—–the hundreds of academics (lecturers, professors, teachers) that were assassinated in Iraq during the US-led invasion and occupation, during the years 2003-2012. During this period, over 300 teachers were targeted by various groups with no one group taking responsibility. The assassinations occurred on university campuses, at the homes of teachers, and sometimes while they were driving. We cannot calculate the loss to the families of these victims, as well as the loss to the entire intellectual community of Iraq.

The targeted assassinations of hundreds of Iraqi academics was an attempt to erase and intimidate those who teach, write, do research, and work to carry knowledge and collective and personal memories forward. Free speech and the free exchange of ideas is as important in a classroom as it is on al-Mutanabbi Street.

I’ve come to the conclusion that since we are honoring targeted academics, we don’t necessarily need only professional photographers; rather, we need someone who understands the wider implications of these kinds of targeted assassinations. Perhaps the most daunting thing for a non-professional photographer would be following the material guidelines to prepare the photo for the project. If you understand this project and if you would consider joining, then choose the name of an academic and the details of their assassination as a reference point. The photograph we ask for should be a landscape image, either urban or in nature; it can be constructed or found. It could be an empty room or an open field, an urban parking lot or a grove of trees. You could simply take a picture of the first resonant empty space that you encounter. Some measure of understanding needs to be traversed and the only life it should hold is the remnant of the person that the photographer has chosen to represent. A key element here, is that the image is empty of people. The photograph itself buys us time with the viewer. The photograph should hold the body in place. Your image should hold this person in a kind of emptiness that is palpable, an emptiness that has enough small details in it for the viewer to slowly consider, and then, their vision should drift down to the name you have chosen and then back up again to the image. The photograph has to be strong but it also has to give way to the person that somehow inspired the image. The photo should be a way to take the viewer to the name and the life that held it. You will know the balance when you see it.

In Solidarity,

Beau Beausoleil – Founder – Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here –

Note: Choose a name from the following link below with the accompanying number. Let me know who you have chosen. Create your image after you have picked a name from the list of assassinated academics, rather than using a photograph you may have already taken.



1) 6 copies of one or two images.

2) Use any kind of paper you want.

3) Photo size: 8 x 10 or 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 14 inches.

4) Any photographic process: color inkjet printing, black and white, analog darkroom printing, mail order printing processes.

5) Please include the usual exhibit details about your photographs: title of your print, your name, country, subject’s name, print technique.

6) Sign and date on the back of the photograph

7) Please include an artist’s statement of up to 400 words. It’s important to remember that this is a project of art in the service of ideas rather than a work for an art exhibition. Within your statement let us know your “point of entry” for what you are trying to get at or reflect upon with your photograph.

8) You have six months to complete this project — from the date you notify me that you are interested in participating with this project.

I’d ask that you read and watch some of the links below and let the ideas of our project, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, sink to the bone before you begin.

Smithsonian Exhibit 2016…/al-mutanabbi-street-starts-here

(Note that this exhibit was part of our 11 venue Washington D.C. area exhibit – After watching the video towards the bottom of the page please click on the link which will take you to another page with more links related to our project. Smithsonian video with Arabic subtitles Literature (in English)…/al-mutanabbi-street-2017-as-long-as-…/

Artists’ Book Project (An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street – Click into a gallery and then onto any book image to see more views of the book and read the artist’s statement.

Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadsides –…/collect…/al-mutanabbi/index.php

Absence and Presence – A Printmaking project of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here…/Al-Mutanabbi-prints-august-2017.p…

2014 reading at the Arab British Centre in London –

Exeter, U.K. A 2016 reading and exhibit for Absence and Presence, part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Project

Review of our anthology in Jadaliyya, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here…/…/al-mutanabbi-street-starts-here

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University (Rochelle Davis is the Director). used several of our printmaking project illustrations in their Summer 2017 Newsmagazine (one illustrates the magazine cover).

Our Bookmark Project –

A musical piece that was composed for the project

As part of our yearly global readings for al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, we helped inspire, with the aid of the poet/activist Amal Al-Jubouri and her Soutuna Project, a series of readings across Iraq as reported on here

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky,
                        outdoor and nature

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Poet and book-artist

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