Print this page

Libby Hathorn by Myriam Kin-Yee

Libby Hathorn by Myriam Kin-Yee, 2006

The Artist

Originally from Vanuatu and a graphic designer for most of her professional life, Myriam is based in the Kangaroo Valley, Australia, where she now paints full-time. She first studied Fine Arts at Sydney University in the late 60s, and continued to hone her skills by attending various art institutions such as the NY School of Visual Arts, the Sydney Julian Ashton School, the Florence Academy of Art, the NY Studio School and more recently JSS in Civita (Jerusalem Studio School, Italy) and the Slade School of Fine Arts..

For the last few years Myriam has been exploring her fascination with mythology and commedia dell’arte, the characters and their relationship to the subconscious. Her approach to the subject is directed by her love of figure drawing and her fascination in the communicative power of body language and its gestures. This interest extends to mythical fruits and plants, including both the pomegranate and the peony, for which she has a special fondness – both are important in western and eastern mythology.

Myriam’s style is mostly realistic and representational, and she enjoys painting figurative and still life subjects in oils as well as in watercolor mediums. On occasions, Myriam gives landscapes a go, which she continues to find somewhat challenging (taken from the artist's website:

Libby Hathorn by Myriam Kin-Yee

The portrait

The portrait of Libby Hathorn hangs prominently beside the entrance to the offices of the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature. Myriam Kin-Yee has captured a beautiful likeness of the sitter using acrylics on canvas against a background of phrases and words apt for a lady of letters. The portrait of Libby Hathorn was donated by the sitter in September 2017 under the Cultural Gifts Fund.

Elizabeth Helen "Libby" Hathorn is best known primarily as a writer for children, and a poet who works with schools, institutions and communities. She has received many awards for her books, some of which have been translated into several languages. In 2001 Libby  was awarded a Centenary Medal for her contribution to children's theatre. In 2014 she was awarded the Alice Award for her contribution to Australian literature.

Hallmark Hall of Fame made a movie of Hathorn's best-selling young adult novel, Thunderwith, re-titled The Echo of Thunder. It starred Judy Davis, who was nominated for an Emmy Award in the US for her performance as Gladwyn. In 2004 her children's picture storybook, Sky Sash So Blue, published in the United States, was performed as an opera in Birmingham, Alabama. Previously, Grandma's Shoes was performed as an opera by Opera Australia and Theatre of Image. Libby was awarded an AWGIE for the libretto based on this picture storybook, in 2001. Her CDROM series Weirdstop won the Australian Interactive Media Industry Awards (AIMIA), 2004 as Best Children's Product; and in 2005 the New South Wales Society of Women Writers' Bi-annual Award for Older Readers. Wonderstop won the Energy Australia National Trust Heritage Award (Education) 2007. Concerned about child homelessness, Hathorn wrote Way Home with illustrations by Greg Rogers which won the Kate Greenaway Award in the UK and a Parent's Choice in the USA. It was later produced as a play by Barking Gecko in WA. Recent children's picture books include Outside (Little Hare) A CBCA Notable Book 2014, being developed as a children's opera with Australian composer Elena Katz Chernin; and A Soldier, A Dog and a Boy illustrated by Phil Lesnie, (Hachette) a CBCA Notable Book 2017.

The portrait was donated by Libby Hathorn to the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature in 2017

A dog and a boy picture book by Libby Hathorn