“The Lawrence Public Library Friends & Foundation is ecstatic that Joelle shared her collaging skills for this special installment of 'Library Landscapes.'... Such a prevalent topic (banned books) paired with Joelle's talent made for an amazing artwork that we can't wait to chare with the Lawrence community."
- Kathleen Morgan, Director of Development & Community Partnerships
(Lawrence, KS) The Lawrence Public Library Friends & Foundation is pleased to announce the second installment of “Library Landscapes,” the relatively new poster series that captures the magic of Lawrence Public Library through the lens of beloved local artists. Unfurled by local Lawrence, Kansas artist, Joelle Ford, is not a literal depiction of a “landscape,” it is a metaphorical one, speaking to recent attacks on the information landscape and censorship attempts through book bans.
“The Lawrence Public Library Friends & Foundation is ecstatic that Joelle shared her collaging skills for this special installment of ‘Library Landscapes.’ Banned books was the perfect theme to focus on as Banned Books Week happens to fall during the first week of October. Such a prevalent topic paired with Joelle’s talent made for an amazing artwork that we can’t wait to share with the Lawrence community," said Kathleen Morgan, Director of Development & Community Partnerships.
Ford’s artwork evokes an upside-down American flag, symbolizing the state of distress in America’s intellectual freedom. Composed with covers of banned and challenged books, Unfurled is quilt-like in nature, speaking to how woven together stories communicate who we are as a community, as a nation, and what beliefs we stand for.
The 374 triangle cutouts of banned book covers are symbolic of the shape of a folded American flag, encouraging viewers to ponder which stories we as a nation amplify and which stories are suppressed. Some of the top reasons for recent book challenges include LGBTQIA+ content; sexual content; and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion content.
Unfurled challenges viewers to do just that–“unfurl”–to be open to what stories we read, share, and tell. While each of the featured books were banned or challenged, the titles are available for checkout in the library's catalog.
High quality reproductions of Ford’s original library artwork are available for sale as collectible posters at LPLFF.org. Limited numbers of the reproduced piece signed by the artist also are available. All proceeds support Lawrence Public Library.
“Creating the artwork with 76 book covers proved to be quite a challenge. I found that they interacted better and more colorfully as smaller triangular pieces, while diagonal stripes added interest. The “Xs” and cross patterns throughout the piece reminded me of bans as well,” Ford said. “The result is a giant ‘Easter Egg’ of a banned book scavenger hunt that provides an extra hidden layer, giving viewers something new to discover each time they return for another look. The clues are there!”
This project was made possible through a generous gift from Colette and Ron Gaches. Special thanks to Melissa Hoffman, Susan Marshall, and Eliza Hale for supplementing our supply of banned books.
About Lawrence Public Library
Lawrence Public Library (LPL for short) is a community hub that believes in the power of connecting with each other through shared knowledge and resources. Located in the heart of Downtown Lawrence, Kansas, we are committed to providing a space where our community can learn, connect, create, and grow through access to our vast collections, resources, services, programs, and knowledgeable staff. The library is supported by tax dollars, record-breaking book sales and philanthropic efforts by the LPL Friends & Foundation, opens a new window, and the dedicated efforts of more than 300 volunteers. All are welcome.