Book Art

Patricia Sarrafian Ward

Patricia Sarrafian Ward

Patricia Sarrafian Ward is a writer and book artist originally from Beirut, Lebanon and currently living in the United States.  Her novel The Bullet Collection was published by Graywolf Press in 2003, and her stories and poems have appeared in many literary journals, most recently Banipal and Guernica.  As a book artist, Ward continues to explore civilian wartime experience and issues of identity and belonging.  Her work has appeared in a number of galleries.  She is a member of ArtSpace-Maynard, Concord Art Association, Center for Book Arts in NYC, and RAWI, an organization of Arab-American writers and artists.

Major Exhibitions:
„An Inventory of al-Mutanabbi Street” (book arts exhibitions t.b.d.)
„Re/Vision” Featured Artist Project, January 2012, The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY
„Beyond the Book 5” Mar.-May 2011, Boston Public Library (Honan-Allston), Boston, MA
„Book Art: The World of the Limitless” Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011, ArtSpace, Maynard, MA
„BLUE” (juried), Nov. 2010-Jan. 2011, Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, MA
„Frances N. Roddy Open Competition” (juried), Sept.-Oct. 2010, Concord Art Association, Concord, MA
„Teeny Tiny Art Show” group show, Three Graces Gallery, Portsmouth, NH (Feb. 2010)
„Re/Vision” (two-person show), Oct.-Nov. 2009, Albright Art + Craft, Concord, MA
„Alter-A-Tions” (group show), Jul.-Aug. 2009, Experimental Art Gallery, Salem, MA

Major Awards, Events and Achievements:
Recipient of the GLCA New Writer’s Award, Hala Maksoud Award for Outstanding Emerging Writer, and the Anahid Literary Award (for The Bullet Collection, 2003-2005)
Recipient of Hopwood Awards in both short fiction and novel at University of Michigan (1995)
Resident and/or Fellow at Chateau de Lavigny, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference
Panelist/Lecturer at numerous events and colleges, including AWP conference, Alwan for the Arts in New York, Harvard, NYU, and American University of Beirut

I come to the book arts after years of writing fiction. The miniature book-objects I make are the very opposite of the huge novels I was producing in my writing career, and I have come to recognize this as an instinctive effort to distill expression to something more pure. The painstaking labor of cutting and painting paper in such fine detail, of searching for language that will fit in these minuscule spaces and yet convey the fullness of what I am trying to express, reflects the intense process of examining the unanswered questions in my life. I use a variety of papers and book boards, adding color with ink and paint, and incorporating childhood memorabilia, journal excerpts, and other writings.

These three books draw on my experience growing up in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. Even though so many years have passed, the fear, confusion, and uncertainty remain vividly etched in my memory, mingled with the sweetness of childhood. In Nostalgia, I reflect on the potency of longing for that past despite its hazards. War Dreams was my response to the 2008-09 invasion of Gaza, inspired by a deep kinship with the children there. Images from Gaza are collaged with those of Beirut, the children longing for a dreamland world of peace. I made If It Were Zack in solidarity with the 2009 Gaza Freedom March, memorializing the children who died through the imagined loss of my own child.