Reimagine – the world according to children’s books

Looking for something to do with the kids over the school holidays? The Geelong Gallery is featuring a delightful exhibition of Australian children’s book illustrations. It’s called ‘Reimagine – the world according to children’s books’ and showcases acclaimed Indigenous and non-Indigenous illustrators. The Gallery is open daily 10am – 5pm and entry is free.

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Works range in scale from intimate to immense. Geelong Gallery is thrilled to premiere an exceptional, major new work by local illustrator, Robert Ingpen. (Pictured here). Some of the most recognisable characters from the history of children’s stories and nursery rhymes including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Toad of Toad Hall, Humpty Dumpty, Pinocchio, the Tin Man, Bunyip Bluegum and the hairy Peruvians who voyaged in the artist’s own creation, the Poppykettle are painted across almost seven metres.

‘One of the revelations of working on this exhibition has been the sheer range of material diversity and stylistic approaches deployed by illustrators as they find precisely the right medium to give visual life to a story.  Practices range from the venerable traditions of drawing and watercolour, to collage, sculpture, painted ceramics and digital imaging. Each pictorial approach seems to magically correspond with the tenor and themes of its story.’ Jason Smith, Geelong Gallery Director tells us.

‘Look See, Look at Me’ illustrations by Dee Huxley follows the story of family life in an Aboriginal community. Dee and author Leonie Norrington ran workshops with the women of Barunga, Wugularr and Manyalalluk communities of Arnhem Land to create the vibrant illustrations and rhyming texts.

Van T Rudd’s paintings on scrap cardboard reflect the synergy with the story created by Maxine Beneba Clarke in ‘The Patchwork Bike’ a tale of brothers in a town at the edge of a No-Go Desert, who build a bike from scratch, using everyday items such as an old milk pot and a used flour sack, with a numberplate from bark.

Isobel Knowles staged three-dimensional tableaux constructed from felt and cardboard to create the images for ‘Own Know How’, a story about solving big problems that can only be solved with the help of owls.

Other works in the exhibition include: Leigh Hobb’s ‘Mr Chicken Arriva a Roma’, Terry Denton illustrations for the story of ‘Jandamarra’, Bronwyn Bancroft’s abstract ‘Colours of Australia’, just to name a few.

Through the works of Australian illustrators and authors, telling our own stories as well as universal tales, ‘Reimagine – the world according to children’s books’ activates the dynamic connection between reading and seeing, and promotes literacy, perception, creativity and diverse ways of seeing the world.

This Geelong Gallery and Geelong Regional Library Corporation exhibition runs until May 27th. It is presented in partnership with Geelong Gallery Foundation, WorkSafe and Geelong Connected Communities. Entry is free.

Story: Curtesy Geelong Art Gallery. Photo: Hails & Shine photography.