Carpe Librum: Seize the book at Ara

News News & events

15 Aug 2016

Decommissioned books from the Ara Institute of Canterbury library have a new lease on life as artworks for the WORD Writers & Readers Festival 2016 exhibition of Carpe Librum: Seize the book, which opens to the public on Wednesday 16 August.  

The Artbox at the Ara City Campus, Christchurch, plays host to the exhibition, which runs until 2 September (10am – 3pm).

With works created by staff and students from Art & Design, the exhibition has been a labour of love for Ara Art Curator Julie Humby. Julie first encountered books as the physical and conceptual foundation of artworks when she co-curated the Biblia Abiblia exhibition with Ara tutor Michael Reed for the 2012 WORD Festival.

One of many imaginative and impressive artworks at Carpe Librum. 

"Books are so much more than the written words or narrative they contain and our relationships with them are multifarious," Julie says. "Whilst books are carriers of information and imagery they are also something higher than their original function. Books have an elegance as an object and feel satisfying within our hands, but in Carpe Librum we see books as artistic enterprise.

"As an art curator, artist and librarian Carpe Librum is a show after my own heart, and it is a pleasure to be part of the huge variety of events that make up WORD Writers & Readers Festival 2016, sharing our love for words, images and the form of the book."

Carpe Librum features two types of works.

Firstly, a selection of second year combined print and bookbinding elective students, and a first year Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication Design) class. The students had to learn hand binding and stitching, and utilise folding, pressing and precision techniques to make books that are artworks in their own right.

Secondly, Ara Art & Design staff were given decommissioned books to unleash their creativity on, working with the book as object as well as taking inspiration from the content within.

Artists Bruce Aitken, Wendy Clarke, Julie Humby, Carol King, Kim Lowe, John Maillard, Deborah Marshall, Michael Reed, Stefan Roberts, Jane Schollum, Henry Sunderland and Kiri Te Wake, contribute to Carpe Librum.