On Saturday, Oct. 23, 2011, many kids aged eight to twelve were able to enjoy a very interesting and
riveting event at the Power Plant in Toronto. Conducted by Anna Bouzina, the workshop highlighted the
work of Derek Sullivan’s collection of artwork and books called Albatross Omnibus.
Derek Sullivan explored the concept of a book being able to contain almost anything. His abstract and obscure bookmaking style was enthralling and inspiring in a way that completely revolutionizes the trade of bookmaking. He stretched the boundaries of the basic concept of a book. Though his books held little text,
they held deep meaning. Using visuals to represent thoughts, ideas, and opinions, Sullivan’s artworks left a lasting imprint on the memories of others and forced the readers to think in ways that a regular printed book could not.
Anna Bouzina, the organizer of the workshop, conducted the gallery tour. The tour consisted of two galleries full of the works of Derek Sullivan. The first gallery consisted of a gigantic long accordion book.
Anna explained to the participants that Derek Sullivan intended for his books to be free. “The exhibit is different every time it is displayed,” said Bouzina.
The exhibit consisted of various different pictures. Some consisted of elaborate random swirls, where others had rushed squiggles.
The second display room consisted of books hung off the ceiling in such a way that they could only be viewed by using ladders. Sullivan’s intentions were so that the kids had to “reach for the information,” as Anna Bouzina put it. Derek Sullivan wanted the kids to work and to make an effort so they would be rewarded
with the information.
The workshop later consisted of 20 or so kids creating their own book while mimicking Derek’s style. They created books made up entirely of illustrations except for a minimal number of captions or labels on a couple of
pages. The children learned to develop different ways of looking at things. At the end, every child learned to make his or her own book. From books about cars to books about places around the world, the children were proud of their work. When asked, the kids exclaimed that they loved the workshop and the handson approach. One young girl participated in the workshop said, “I liked cutting up the pictures and making my own book.”
This workshop provided hands-on activities which encouraged the eager young participants to contribute. Parents and children were able to learn about the value of pictures and gain a whole new perspective on books.
The kids enjoyed the workshop and hope tobe able to come again.