07-14 Banned Books

A crystallized copy of Charlotte's Web is among the banned books on display at Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery in Center Sandwich. (Courtesy Photo)

CENTER SANDWICH — Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery is displaying a collection of crystallized books by author and poet Georgia Heard through the summer months.

Each of the books has been banned at libraries, schools or universities across the United States, but while they are out of circulation, they have taken on new and permanent lives as sculptures, proving the strength of their endurance, not only as literature but as art.

The exhibit, "Banning Books Silences Stories," anticipates the upcoming Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read which, this year, runs from Sept. 23 to 29.

The crystallization process turns the books into rigid objects. The pages curl into tactile shapes, the covers bend, the crystals sparkle and in some cases fall away from the pages like ancient frescoes. Heard includes statements with each piece, informing the viewer as to why and where the book has been banned.

“The crystallized banned book series celebrates and immortalizes the beauty, power and timelessness of books," Heard said. "Each book, banned by a range of institutions and for a variety of reasons, is frozen in time by crystallization and transformed into an enduring piece of art; a geological artifact. I want to show that, regardless of constantly changing political beliefs, and shifting societal values, words and books are ageless and will survive. These crystallized books symbolize the tenacity and persistence of truth through language despite attempts throughout history to lock books and ideas away from the hands and hearts of readers."

Books have been burned, banned and challenged throughout history for multiple reasons. Among them is the popular Harry Potter series which has been banned in the U.S. more than any other book, Heard says.

Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery is located at 69 Maple St. in Center Sandwich. For more information, visit www.patricialaddcarega.com or call 603-284-7728. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday.

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