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Speaking Subaltern

“Subaltern” is a term used to designate populations in a historically subordinate position who are denied a voice of their own. It describes the lower social class groups at the margins of society who are excluded from cultural discourse. Antonio Gramsci first used the term when describing “history told from below” in his work on cultural hegemony. The concept of the subaltern was later used in postcolonial studies when discussing people who are socially, politically, and geographically outside of the hegemonic power structure. Speaking Subaltern is Moroccan–born Jinane Abbadi’s emotional response to Orientalist writers such as Flaubert and De Nerval. Through etchings and personal replies written in her native Arabic, the artist takes the viewer along on her quest to find an inner voice unclouded by European power dominance.

Ten historical epigraphs in English by selected European writers; ten multiplate chine collé etchings and calligraphic responses in Arabic by Jinane Abbadi on Twinrocker and hand painted Kozo papers. Type set in Baskerville and printed letterpress by Nelle Martin. Etchings printed by Jinane Abbadi. Bound by Michele Burgess and Sonja Jones in a trifold leather and paper enclosure inspired by traditional Moroccan binding styles and housed in a cloth covered tray case. 13 3/4" x 9 1/4". Edition of 40. 2018.

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