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Children’s book illustrations on show at UC

Libby Kimber

19 July 2017: Never-before-seen artwork by some of Australia’s most-loved children’s illustrators is on show as part of a new exhibition at the University of Canberra.

The Imagine If… exhibition features works from artists including Ron Brooks, Jane Tanner, Bob Graham, Patricia Mullins and Shaun Tan, and provides a rare insight into the creative process behind children’s books.

The exhibition has been organised by the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL), which is based at the University.

Curated by Dr Belle Alderman, the NCACL’s director, the exhibition includes work from the NCACL and the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week Collections.

Dr Alderman said that the name Imagine If… is inspired by the artworks on show.

“To us the artwork seemed to be about moving to imaginary worlds, so we thought Imagine If… would be our theme,” she said.

Dr Alderman said that she wanted people to see how special the artworks from children’s illustrators really are.

“I thought to myself, ‘This is the original of a Shaun Tan or a Graeme Base or a Bob Graham [artwork], why don’t we have an exhibition?’” she said.

“We thought it was a great idea to combine two organisations, both of which live and breathe promoting Australian children’s book artwork.”

Dr Alderman said that they wanted the exhibition to appeal to all ages and celebrate children’s illustrations.

“The whole idea is that we want everyone to appreciate children’s book art, because it is really art,” she said.

The exhibition will be officially launched on 27 July, but is already open to the public. Renowned children’s illustrator Bob Graham has donated an original piece of work to be raffled off at the launch event, with the proceeds going towards the NCACL’s ongoing work.

Imagine If… will be on display at the University of Canberra’s Clive Price Suite until 30 August. For opening times and campus map, click here.