Opium Clippers Artist book
Neja Tomšič: Opium Clippers
An artist book about economic, political and media symbols of tea and opium trade of 18th and 19th century in present times. An artistic research transformed into a visual essay.
Extent: 40 spreads
Dimensions: 200 × 270 mm
Box dimensions: 245 × 310 x 35 mm
Winner of Best Slovenian Artist Book Award in 2017/2018
Winner of Best Book Design in Category Book as Object at the Slovenian Book Fair
The artist book Opium Clippers is based on the series of homonymous tea ceremonies in which I tell (true) stories about forgotten episodes of 18th and 19th century trade while making and drinking tea.
The book Opium Clippers is a combination of images and texts through which I narrate stories based on documents while, at the same time, consciously transitioning from the factual to the symbolic level. The tea and opium trade refers to a time, in the past, when notions on politics, class, gender, religion and culture as we know them now were being (trans)formed. It also refers to the present time, however, as this enormous industry is still at the heart of many economic and military superpowers, whose roots can be traced to tea and opium trade. Numerous successful financial, trade or transport companies still active today were established in the period of the tea and opium trade, often as a result of it. Based on short-term planning and quick profits, the tea and opium trade had profound consequences on many societies around the globe.