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This post has been updated to include video from the January 22, 2021 talk:

I met Ian Boyden about ten or so years ago through our mutual friend Sam Hamill and we’ll always be marked by that experience. (Sure, we have some less than flattering Sam stories, but were hugely influenced by Sam’s commitment to art, poetry and justice and that’s what we remember most. Along with too much saké and not enough hamachikama and tempura shiso, but I digress.)

Ian presents material related to his new book A Forest of Names on 7pm PST Friday, January 22, 2021 and you can read about that here. (Zoom link: )

A FOREST OF NAMES is a book of 108 meditations on names of schoolchildren killed in the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, one of the deadliest earthquakes in human history, leaving tens of thousands dead, and millions displaced from their homes. A disproportionate number of the dead were schoolchildren, who were killed when their government-built school collapsed on them. Not only did the government refuse to hold accountable those who had built the schools in such a shoddy manner, but they actually determined the subject “politically sensitive” and forbade the discussion of these children, refused to list their names. Those who survived, the parents, siblings, whole communities weren’t allowed to grieve. This book is a quest for justice by Ian, an exercise in translation, compassion and has made him persona non grata in China, as you can imagine.

I have interviewed Ian on a few occasions.

On his new book:

Ian Boyden Interview (A Forest of Names)

on an Ai Weiwei exhibit related to the new book that he curated:

Ai WeiWei Exhibit on San Juan Island

And with Sam Hamill about one of their collaborations:

Sam Hamill, Ian Boyden, Reading, Talk and Interview (Nov 11, 2012)

There will be Q&A after Ian’s presentation. I hope you’ll join us.