About this piece:
Fantastic Fauna is a bilingual book in English and Arabic, based on the tradition of having animal characteristics as caricatures of humans. The book was inspired from Ibn Al Mqufas’s Kalila and Dimna a ninth-century collection of animal fables which came to Persia from India, similar to George Orwell’s political allegory Animal Farm, the stories are about people and politics. The animal characters were used to represent social inequality and oppression.
Fantastic Fauna shows animal images from medieval Islamic artwork that depict imaginary and real animals. The book offers the reader with a different reality where the words describing the animals are not in the main book but inside the miniature books. The reader will be intrigued to find differences and connections between images and words, animal and human characters.
The book ends with George Orwell quote
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”
paper, wood, leather, thread
About the artist:
Islam Aly is currently an assistant professor of Art Education in the Department of Art at the University of Northern Iowa. At Helwan University, Egypt he received a BA and an MA in Art Education; afterward, he graduated from the University of Iowa, with an MFA in Book Arts and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Art Education. His books explore the possibilities of historical bindings in contemporary book art practice. He has combined book traditions with digital technologies. His work is created at the junction between culture, technology, and aesthetics.