Sonia Farmer’s artist book, A True & Exact History has been awarded the 2019 Holle Award for Excellence in Book Arts. Awarded by The University of Alabama College of Communication & Information Sciences, the Holle Awards “recognize and celebrate leaders in creativity” in multiple categories.
In the Book Arts category, judges select one student enrolled in a graduate Book Arts programme whose submitted artist book, “demonstrates both conceptual strength and exceptional craft skills… evaluated on the following criteria: the integration of form, materials, and content within the bookwork, and a strong statement of purpose that articulates an artistic vision and potential for professional leadership in the field.”
In a formal announcement of the 2019 recipients of the Holle Awards, Dr. Mark Nelson, Dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences, said that, “The 2019 Holle Award winners are some of the most gifted students we’ve ever seen.”
Sonia attended the awards ceremony at the University of Alabama where she also met colleagues at the Alabama Center for the Book and shared her artist book and other projects with fellow book arts students.
A True & Exact History (Poinciana Paper Press, 2018) is an erasure of one of the most formative descriptions of the English Caribbean in the seventeenth Century, Richard Ligon’s 1657 guidebook, A True and Exact History of Barbadoes. Using the language, imagery, and thematic drives at the core of this text to disrupt the teleology of colonial Caribbean history, these unbound poetic fragments scattered among a shifting landscape simultaneously re-create and resist narrative as a device of cohesive history, ultimately calling into question what it means to write “a true and exact history” of anything. Untethered to linearity, the book can be encountered in multiple displays and formats, including as a performance.
Photographs of the award ceremony courtesy of University of Alabama College of Communications & Information Sciences.