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Cartoneras: Book Arts from Latin America

September 1 – 30, 2009

Haroldo2Showcasing the work of young writers and artists from various Latin American countries, this exhibit contains a sampling of “cartonera” books on loan from the Special Collections Department, Memorial Library.  Cartonera books are hand-made from recycled cardboard collected off the streets by “cartoneros,” or garbage pickers, who sell the cardboard they collect to the Cartonera publishers and in some cases work on the production process of the actual books themselves.  The cardboard covers are hand-painted and the books often contain new literary contributions. Writers and artists have developed a “progressive new publishing model that challenges and contests the neo-liberal political and economic hegemony.”  Cartonera publishing promotes “the democratization of the book and access to literature for everyone, everywhere.”

Since its inception in 2003 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the Eloisa Cartonera, the cartonera publishing phenomenon has quickly spread to other Latin American countries: Animita Cartonera (Santiago, Chile); Dulcineia Catadora (Sao Paolo, Brazil); La Cartonera (Cuernavaca, Mexico); Mandragora Cartonera (Cochabamba, Bolivia); Sarita Cartonera (Lima, Peru); Yerba Mala Cartonera (El Alto, Bolivia); and Yiji Jambo (Asuncion, Paraguay).

The UW-Madison is hosting the conference “Cartonera Publishers: Recycling Latin American Bookscapes” that will take place on October 8th-9th, 2009.

Curated by Lyn Korenic and Jaime Healy-Plotkin.

Image from:  Dulcineia Catadora (Brazil), 2007.