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Jaffe Center for Book Arts imprints a picture of world events

Handcrafted books line the shelves of a small glass room inside the Jaffe Center. Some only contain pictures or paintings, while others unfold to create 12-foot panoramas.

“The point of making the book this way is so you remember it,” says Arthur Jaffe, curator and founder of the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Collection at the S.E. Wimberly Library on Florida Atlantic University's Boca Raton campus.

”Dafitar: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art," is the current exhibit. Spread throughout the library, the traveling exhibit features 17 Iraqi artists. The books contain images and thoughts covering the tyranny of former President Saddam Hussein and the U.S. invasion, said John Cutrone, program coordinator for the Jaffe Collection.

“So much of the world’s strife begins in the Middle East,” Cutrone said.

The Middle East is only one subject covered in the vast collection. Other books focus on such subjects as gay rights, politics, money, war and different heritages.

There also are some unusual exhibits.

The Flag Project by Maureen Cummins, for example, is a collection of silkscreen American flags on which the author documents her experiences and feeling about the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

And a book by Meg Belachik, bound in lead, portrays the pollution of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, Cutrone said. Once a busy cargo transportation hub, the canal has mirrored the decline of domestic shipping on waterways. Recently, there have been calls to institute a major cleanup operation.

The center also features gallery talks. Creators of the books speak about their works to students and alumni.

Cutrone recentlu conducted a gallery talk that showcased politics in book arts. One book, the size of a business card, Gay Myths by Ed Hutchins, lists common clichés presented by those opposed to homosexuality.

An example: “14. We don’t make good parents,” Hutchins wrote.

There are currently 6,000 items in the collection for public viewing. Group tours can be arranged.




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