Community and connection at Dublin Art Book Festival 2022

Ciara Chan examines the events held at this year’s Dublin Art Book Festival, which has as its theme A Caring Matter

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the Dublin Art Book Festival (DABF). Advertised as Ireland’s only art book fair and held at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios from November 24 to December 4, this is not an event to be missed. Now, I know what you’re thinking… Temple Bar? No way! I lose money just walking past it! In fact, the only safe way to engage with it in any capacity is by observing it from campus with a telescope. But before you speed past on a mission to find more affordable options, consider this: free tickets! Need I say more?

Founded in 1983, Temple Bar + Studios provides affordable studio space for artists to foster their creativity and presents five exhibitions each year in an old shirt factory. Since June 2006, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios has been home to the annual Dublin Art Book Festival. Carefully curated talks, tours, and book launches are all integral aspects of this unique event. It is a celebration of artists and their publications from Ireland and beyond. Each year the DABF presents limited edition artist books, and 2022 will be no different, with over 500 newly published and rare books on display. Each year the DABF commemorates art’s impact on society and the continuous conversation between art, societal change, and development. This year’s theme is focused on care and building a society through care.

“The works put together for this event use the very singular perspective of the artist to observe society and the environment.”

DABF 2022 guest curator Rosie Lynch and sponsor Henry J. Lyons are to present the theme A Caring Matter, which will explore how communities of belonging are created. The works put together for this event use the very singular perspective of the artist to observe society and the environment. 

Each day of the eleven-day festival will feature an event of some variety highlighting different artists. A few of the events set to take place at this year’s DABF include a screening of FALLOUT/falling out/a cinema of work injury, to be held on November 25, and focus on feminism, the body, class, and labour. The Online Talk: High Street Multiverse, on November 29, uses art and creativity to explore how care builds a city and how a city cares for its people. A talk on A Table in Ballybeg, an art book by Simon Cutts and Erica Van Horn, will be presented on December 1, and the book launch of The Story of Castalia, a new graphic book by Brianna Hurley, will occur on December 2. Don’t forget that browsing artist books and gallery exhibitions is also a worthwhile venture. The Temple Bar Gallery + Studios will, in fact, also be presenting a new work by Marielle Macleman: Care Quilt and Moral Boundaries I, in which Macleman uses plant dyes and tumble dryer lint to highlight dementia caregiving and the labour behind it that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

“Art, like care, is an undervalued aspect of society. It is a form of connection, allowing us to engage with the world around us and better understand our experiences.”

In a world where care labour is often overlooked, be it a mother caring for her children or caring for a house, the DABF 2022 is choosing to shine a light on these essential building blocks of our society. The parts of society that act as an invisible string holding us all together. Art, like care, is an undervalued aspect of society. It is a form of connection that allows us to engage with the world and better understand our experiences. In this way, the theme of care for the DABF 2022 is very apt when we consider the festival an act of care toward the community. Art holds a community together and builds it up the same way that care does. It has this way of expressing ideas and emotions in a way not always available to us through words. 

The DABF offers an immersive experience that allows people to better understand and connect to their community. Most of the weekday events will be presented in the evening and last around one to two hours. Needless to say, that annoying 5pm lecture won’t get in the way of heading down to Temple Bar for an event or two. 

Come for the art, listen to a talk, experience a walking tour of Temple Bar, or maybe just browse through some limited-edition books. Whatever you decide to do, DABF 2022 promises a unique experience in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter.