Alisa Banks’ Fire


Alisa Banks, Fire (Dallas, Texas: A Bee Press, 2020). No. 1 of 4. Wool, silk, cotton, thread, paper, wax, ink, and dye with handwritten text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Visual artist Alisa Banks writes, “… my work addresses the quest for understanding identity and all it encompasses. … Each individual, quiet story coalesces to form a cultural memory that is shaped by experience, ritual, belief, places and relationships, and is called upon to explore connections. …It continues when stories that reference culture, the body, memory, and place are shared. It continues when an object relays an experience, either by paint, thread or paper. It continues.”

The Graphic Arts Collection acquired our first book in Banks’ elemental series. “Part autobiography, part auto-biology, elemental focuses on aspects of identity in relation to the elements Earth, Fire, Air and Water. In each, the viewer is invited to dig through layers that are sometimes easily accessible and sometimes not.”

Fire is the last of this series.



Based in Dallas, Texas, Banks produced each book in an edition of only four copies. Fire is fashioned of wool, silk, cotton, thread, paper, wax, ink, and dye with handwritten text. Pamphlet cover with pockets containing an envelope with a scroll, inner envelope, and paper rock. The artist notes, ”Fire – orange to red, to blue, to white – is both intimate and universal. Fire catches and holds on to matter, consuming it until it is transformed into something else, an essence. Fire is mesmerizing, in turn lulling and igniting fervor. In religion and mythology, it is the element that represents awareness and consciousness.”



Fire features stories of the transformative power of action, understanding, and experience. A fabric envelope features text about fire and transformation. The envelope is opened to reveal a scroll that features an account of desegregating an elementary school. The story unfolds to reveal another fabric envelope featuring an account of the transformative power of motherhood. Inside the envelope is a paper rock that speaks to the unboundedness of love.”