Painted Stories Trust displays children's book illustrations at Millennium Public Art Gallery in Marlborough

Gallery director Cressida Bishop with an illustration by Phoebe Morris, from First to the Top by David Hill.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Gallery director Cressida Bishop with an illustration by Phoebe Morris, from First to the Top by David Hill.

Bright and beautiful illustrations from popular children's books are on display at a new exhibition in Blenheim.

The Painted Stories Trust has brought images from some of New Zealand's best-loved illustrators to the Millennium Public Art Gallery. 

Renowned children's book illustrators Gavin Bishop and Dame Lynley Dodd are among the 20 illustrators exhibiting in the exhibition. 

Bishop, who is also on the trust's board, said it featured a mixture of illustrators who used more old-fashioned materials and illustrators who mainly used computers to generate images.  

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"Some people use a mixture of both," he said. 

"[The exhibition is] quite a survey of the kinds of work that's being done in New Zealand at the moment." 

The exhibition should appeal to a mixture of people, not just children, Bishop said. 

Dodd rose to fame with the Hairy Maclary picture books, which she both wrote and illustrated. 

Bishop wrote and illustrated classics such as Bidibidi and Mr Fox as well as illustrating children's books written by other authors, like Joy Cowley. 

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Other illustrators included Phoebe Morris, who illustrated First to the Top by David Hill, and fellow New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards finalists Fraser Williamson, Vasanti Unka and Bob Kerr. 

Bishop said the Painted Stories Trust had brought the exhibition to Blenheim several times now because the Christchurch earthquakes had limited the city's exhibition space.

Gallery director Cressida Bishop said after being displayed in Blenheim the work would be displayed at the International Board on Books for Young People Congress in Auckland in August, and would be a highlight of the event.

It was the first time the congress had been held in the southern hemisphere. 

Bishop said special events for school-age and preschool children would be held while the exhibition was in Blenheim, and copies of the books would be available to look at. 

It was an interesting selection of work and a "really positive, happy" exhibition, Bishop said. 

"I guess it's a mixture of contemporary and classics," she said. 

Some personal statements from each of the illustrators also made for interesting reading. 

Last year, a Painted Stories Trust exhibition of illustrations from Joy Cowley books came to the Millennium Public Art Gallery. 

"This is much broader with a bigger focus," Bishop said. 

Gavin Bishop said the illustrations were from books which were in print, as the trust wanted people to be able to purchase them at the congress. 

The exhibition would fit in with the Marlborough Book Festival, which was being held in July this year.

* School holiday programmes based around the 'Painted Stories' exhibition at the Millennium Public Art Gallery will be held on July 12, July 14, July 19, and July 20, in conjunction with Marlborough District Libraries. Details at the art gallery or visit marlboroughdistrictlibraries.govt.nz. 

* The 'Painted Stories' exhibition will run until July 31 at the Millennium Public Art Gallery in Blenheim.

 - The Marlborough Express

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