2021. Number 7 of 40 copies, signed, numbered, and dated by the book artist. "Transpose" is a bilingual book in English and Arabic that investigates talismanic shirts. A talismanic shirt (or talisman shirt) is a textile talismanic object that is worn. Talismanic shirts are found throughout the Islamic world. The shirts may be inscribed with verses from Quran, names of Allah and of prophets and with numbers. They may carry images or symbols, e.g. astrological ones. The inscribed names are believed to be capable of offering protection and guidance to the wearer. Historically there were various uses for the talismanic shirts; they could be worn as a shield in battles, during illness, used as protective amulets, and produced for ceremonial purposes. They would have a distinctive vocabulary, a mixture of religious texts, sacred invocations, symbols, magic squares, and seal markings.
In this inventive work, there are seven symbolic replicas of talismanic shirts housed inside a cloth covered box. The "shirts" are actually small, intricate paper pamphlets that are sewn onto wooden dowels that hang from the top of the box, They are constructed from linen thread, book board, museum board, acrylic colors, and laser-cut handmade and Fabriano papers. The green cloth-covered box has a magnet closure and an orange cloth pull cut in the shape of a shirt. There are hand stenciled images and inkjet printed text on the interior of the box. It includes a quote from Virginia Woolf about wearing clothes: Box size: 9.5 x 8.7 x 2.7 closed, 9.5 x 18.25 x 2.7 opened. Pamphlet size: 7.5x 6.5.
Islam Aly is an Egyptian-born book artist and teacher based in Cairo, who studied book arts and art education at the University of Iowa. His books explore the possibilities of historical bindings in contemporary book art practices They have appeared in international exhibitions in the United States and abroad, and in private and public collections including the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Library of Chile, Yale University, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina. In an artist's statement he writes: "When I make a historical book structure, I go through a learning process. I learn the history as well as the different physical aspects of the binding such as how a book form is constructed in a specific sequence. I learn about the use of different materials such as paper, wood, leather and dyes. I learn to make choices in selecting and replacing traditional materials that I don’t have access to. I use these different experiences to enhance my work in making artists’ books and to use historical and cultural references from these structures in the actual content. In essence, I wish to explore new ways to use the rich structures of historical books in contemporary artists’ book practice and incorporate contemporary content into strictly historical structures." In fine condition. ARTISTSB/050322. Fine.