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In this week's See Also something joyous and wonderful -- we present the eight prize winners from the seventh annual Baker + Whitehill Student Artists' Book Contest! The awards were announced last night in a virtual celebration that acknowledged the variety, timeliness, and intensity of this year's 35 entrants and included remarks by guest juror and RISD alum Nafis White and special guest Alice Beckwith, representing the American Printing History Association. In its seven years, 327 books in total have been submitted to the contest, with all 33 of the prize winners now permanently in Special Collections at Fleet Library. For more about the contest, information and images for all past submissions, and a link to the recording of last night's event, see here.  
 
Kudos to Claudia Covert, Special Collections Librarian; Ariel Bordeaux, Special Collections Associate; and Amy Doyle, Administrative Coordinator for the Libraries Division for all the hard work in organizing the contest and awards event AND to all the RISD faculty who teach from our extraordinary collection of artists' books and encourage their students to make and/or submit work to the contest each year!
 
Enjoy!
 
Margot McIlwain Nishimura
Dean of Libraries
 
P.S. Fleet Library opens for spring semester on Monday, March 1; information about hours and services can be found here. To see spring semester information for all the academic support offices at RISD in one place, please visit the recently updated pages on covid.risd.edu.
GRAND PRIZE: IF WE COULD MAKE IT OUT ALIVE, JONATHAN JAMES DEWANTO, BFA, EXPERIMENTAL AND FOUNDATION STUDIES 2024
"If We Could Make It Out Alive: the pandemic and climate change. Inspired by the increasing single-use-mask waste and other COVID-related debris that were not disposed correctly, If We Could Make It Out Alive is a hand-embroidered poem book in the form of face masks. The set of five masks are detachable, and each can be worn separately. It is an expression of the bitter realities of climate change, specifically from the point of view of someone living in the tropical country of Indonesia. It is a visual representation of fright, sorrow, and being in a state of flux."
LAURIE WHITEHILL AWARD: WAITING FOR DEMOCRACY, NAYA LEE CHANG, BFA, FURNITURE DESIGN 2024
"On June 9, 2020, Georgians attempting to cast ballots in the state’s primary election faced long lines and dysfunctional voting apparatuses. Polling places were understaffed and fewer in number due to COVID-19 restrictions and a blundered rollout of new machines. Unsurprisingly, predominantly Black and poor neighborhoods suffered the longest polling lines. Many voters were forced to wait in line for over three hours, or else give up their constitutional right.

The election day failure in Georgia foreshadowed the chaos and systematic disenfranchisement that accompanied the high-stakes November elections in all parts of the country. Bureaucratic problems with high levels of voting by mail also occurred. Republicans in office routinely implement and uphold voter suppression tactics, so it was contemptible but expected that adequate time and resources were not put toward ensuring ease of voting.

Is this what democracy looks like? Just a few notes on the form of the book: I chose an accordion fold form to emulate the snaking lines that many voters faced on election days in both June and November. All the silhouettes were drawn by me in Adobe Illustrator and cut out using a die-cut machine. The artist box takes the form of a stuffed up and locked ballot box. I recreated an empty ballot to put on the inside of the box, which is where the voters are trying to reach."
PRINTING HISTORY PRIZE: A BOOK OF HAPPINESS, SHUYAN CHEN, BFA, ILLUSTRATION 2023
"I pulled out heart-warming and nostalgic fragments from letters and postcards I have received over the years and collected them into this small volume.

The illustrations on each page build up a separate narration which tells the little adventure of a girl and a bear and lots of letters and postcards they found on the way.

There’s something special about physically received words that I carefully stored in my treasure chest. For this project, I picked out some favorite sentences of mine from the stack and arranged them into chapters according to their topic. Now out of context, these fragments become little glimpses into the lives of those who have written to me or the connection they have shared with me. Much of the original text I translated from Chinese, so perhaps now they bear the tone of my writing, too."
LIBRARIAN'S CHOICE AWARD: THE WOMAN'S WAY, YUKTI VISHAL AGARWAL, BFA, TEXTILES 2024 (BROWN RISD DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM)
"Stories are the most fragile and ephemeral of historical archives. I have always been enticed by the beauty of these generational documents. Some of my favourite passed on stories come embroidered delicately on the silk 12-inch squares of Chamba Rumals: they chronicle the mythological stories of Gods such as Vishnu in his many forms and even the stories which come passed down in the royal courts of the Mughals and Rajputs in India. However, these stories tend to leave the women, who are instrumental in catalyzing change and revolution, in the background of historical documentation.

These recreated Chamba Rumals are a re-telling of stories which bring to the foreground female voices and elucidate the intrinsic role that women played, and continue to play, in the Indian landscape.

Chamba Rumals from ancient India are small hand-embroidered handkerchiefs that were made in the village of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. They are adorned with dophar embroidery, which can be viewed from two perspectives; thus, the back of the rumal has the same embroidery form as the front. They illustrate stories and epics of the time. Reminiscent of the dophar technique, these handkerchiefs draw a parallel with the way we see our history as well: from more than one perspective.

The wood box is made in the local teak wood and the embroidery into the wood is in the colours of the Indian flag to reiterate the locality of this issue, but the embroidery pattern itself is derived from Sanskrit but contemporized to bring to light to the universality of this pertinent issue. The embroidery is based off a Sanskrit saying from old times which reveres and celebrates women to remind us that our scriptures and our past celebrated and respected women, and question why we are not continuing those traditions even today."
HONORABLE MENTIONS
The following entries, pictured left to right, were awarded honorable mentions:

How to be a CaNniBal in the 21st Century, by Vidhi Nayyar, BFA, Experimental and Foundation Studies 2024: "Intended as an assignment on climate change, this book addresses our existence and growth hypocritical nature...This book portrays our illogical methods of consumption and production with satirical undertones"

Ramen with White Privilege, by Sarah Park, BFA, Apparel Design 2022: "What if Ramen tasted like White Privilege? Would you taste the bitterness of colonialism? Would you taste the saltiness from implicit racial biases? Would you taste the mordant flavors of legislative and systematic injustice? Taking a traditional, oriental dish, I wanted to create a book that educated and brought awareness to the ignorance that I have personally witnessed and experienced growing up in America."

Secret Communication System, by Jocelyn Salim, BFA, Illustration 2023: "This is an artist book that tells the story of how two unlikely inventors, inspired by the mechanics of a player piano, invented the frequency hopping spread spectrum. Determined to help with the war efforts, Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr and avant-garde composer George Antheil turned to music for inspiration to create a secret communication system for torpedoes."

It's All "Now", by Mario Fernandez-Moreno, BFA, Apparel Design 2022: "This piece is made as a form of escape. Using the concept of block universe theory in which the past and future and current are all happening simultaneously and therefore can influence each other Scanning QR code are necessary for the piece."

GUEST JUDGE NAFIS WHITE 15 SC/MFA 18 PR + DM
We are proud to have had Nafis White as our guest juror of this year's contest. Nafis works in sculpture, photography, video, collage, sound, and performance, exploring issues of identity, equality, politics and landscape, using personal narratives to facilitate and build conversations with the viewer. Her approach is heavily influenced by conceptualism, aesthetics and climate,  both political and social, with much of her work inspired by the current Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Nafis employs many different strategies in the way that she visualizes and creates work, utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to her art making.

See Nafis' new exhibition, entitled Signature, on display through March 31 in the large ground floor windows of the State Archives, at 33 Broad Street in Providence. The exhibition is inspired by the Women's Suffrage Collection at the State Archives and uses handwritten texts as a foundation for wearable, hand-fabricated jewelry. These works are paired with pieces from White's Oculus series, large sculptural works made entirely from hairpins that merge African American hairdressing techniques with Victorian styles from the turn of the century.


Top: snapshot of Signature exhibition, on display at 33 Broad Street in Providence, through March 31; Four posters below created by the Print Like You Give A Damn Press Collective.
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