The Dream

The Dream (2008) 39×50 inches, gouache, book pages, collage on paper.

This drawing came about through a wonderful “needle in a haystack” experience at the University of Oregon Knight Library book sale. I spent about 2 hours pawing through hundreds of books, looking for items in Hebrew or Arabic. Instead I found this wonderful pocketbook memoir in Urdu called Society’s Fault (or The Virtuous Wench) by Munsifa Munshadil Lukhnava. It was published by Prem Singh Sajjad & Sons in Amritsar, Punjab (no date). The cover describes that this volume contains the “entire drama” of the author “who is female.”

Society’s Fault  was published in Urdu but it took me a few minutes to figure that out. I can read Arabic letters, but my vocabulary is terrible and it took a few minutes of mouthing sounds and fussing with a dictionary to understand that, in fact, these were not words in Arabic at all. I managed to find a very generous person at The Yamada Language Center on campus to translate the title page for me in exchange for a box of chocolates.

The Dream is comprised of the entire book, with every page laid out in a grid. The cover illustration included a portrait of the author, the wench, in a lovely sleeveless dress delicately dropping off a revealed shoulder which has been cropped in the collage.

I am a librarian and artist living in Eugene, Oregon — where it is often damp and always green.

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