Wendy Ewald: American Alphabets

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In this book, conceptual photographer Wendy Ewald researches the ability of language to create barriers or alliances between groups according to gender, age, and race. In collaboration with different groups of children she created four alphabets: a Spanish alphabet with English-as-Second-Language students in North Carolina, an African-American alphabet with students at an elementary school in Cleveland, a White Girls alphabet at a boarding school in Massachusetts, and an Arabic alphabet with students at a middle ...
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Overview

In this book, conceptual photographer Wendy Ewald researches the ability of language to create barriers or alliances between groups according to gender, age, and race. In collaboration with different groups of children she created four alphabets: a Spanish alphabet with English-as-Second-Language students in North Carolina, an African-American alphabet with students at an elementary school in Cleveland, a White Girls alphabet at a boarding school in Massachusetts, and an Arabic alphabet with students at a middle school in Queens, New York. The children collaborated with Ewald to create photographs of objects they chose to represent each letter of their alphabets, objects they picked with a particular eye to the cultural nature of the alphabet they were defining. The result is a dynamic, colorful, idiosyncratic, and overwhelmingly cross-cultural lexicography.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It is often the simplest structure that allows complexity to emerge. The four projects collected here, inspired by the ubiquitous "a is for apple" books, are made up of primers for the letters of the alphabet. Ewald (senior research associate, Ctr. for Documentary Studies, Duke Univ.; Secret Games), who has been photographing children and collaborating with her subjects for some 30 years, conducted a workshop with students from four distinct cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic groups: African American, white female, Arabic, and Latino. For each letter of its respective alphabet, the students supplied the subject ideas, word choice, a definition, and a usage example. They also altered the originals with markers, adding many artistic flourishes. Each primer is insightful, culturally illuminating, and frequently surprising. Presented together, they are documents to be compared and contrasted. The black-and-white and color images, although noticeably staged, capture honest, frank, and thoughtful disclosures-the students are telling it their own way. This essential resource for artists and educators is highly recommended for all libraries and would make an affordable and meaningful addition to children's and youth collections as well as fine art shelves.-Debora Miller, Minneapolis Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783908247814
  • Publisher: Scalo Verlag
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 10.06 (w) x 11.88 (h) x 0.88 (d)

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