Leanne Barrett: Imagine If... Exhibition Opening.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Imagine If... Exhibition Opening.

Welcome to the new National Centre for Australia Children's Literature (National Centre) exhibition, Imagine If... at the University of Canberra (UC). 

10 July to 30 August 2017.  Open Monday – Friday 10.00am – 2.00pm in the Clive Price Suite, Building 1, Level C, University of Canberra (map here).

The Imagine If... exhibition showcases the creative process of creating children's books. On a display are 40 artworks by everyone's favourites, including Bob Graham, Freya Blackwood, Shaun Tan, Jane Tanner, Graeme Base & 14 others. The artworks include framed illustrations, storyboards, manuscripts and other memorabilia. The illustrations come from the National Centre's collection and the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA).

The National Centre's collection, is of great historical and social value to all Australians. Its collection is now valued at over $10M. The National Centre holds; 
  • 36 years of children's books donated by Australian publishers and creators
  • 32,000 books with 3,500 of these in 55 languages
  • 65 collections of authors; papers and manuscripts, and illustrator's artworks
  • 2 publishers' archives
  • audio, photographs, realia and rare material
  • 52 Cultural Gifts donated under the Department of Communications and the Arts.

At the Imagine If...  opening event we were regaled by supportive and enthusiastic supporter of the National Centre and children's literature. 


John Faulks, NCACL Chair
Prof. Nick Klomp
Margot Hillel OAM
Bob Graham
Professor Nickolas Klomp, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Canberra, helped us recall what a wonderful resource the collection is to the students of the University especially those studying Education, Design and Cultural Heritage. 

CBCA's Chair, Margot Hillel OAM, spoke about how the National Centre is a nationally significant collection for scholars and those from the wider community, who love to remember reading the books themselves or sharing these books with children. Margot also made note that the National Centre are the custodian of around 150 CBCA artworks. 

Author and Illustrator, Bob Graham encouraged us to dream about the National Centre having its own dedicated building one day where all people could to nourish their imagination from today and way into the future. 'Imagination and memories are linked. In the exhibition title the word if and the three dots (ellipsis) are important. The three dots are stepping stones of what is to come,' said Bob Graham.


Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman AM
And Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman AM, Director of NCACL, reminded us that the National Centre's collection is unique and significant. That this exhibition would not have been possible without the support of the University of Canberra, the volunteers and volunteer Rowan Simpkin who helped with selecting the artwork for the exhibition. 

Earlier in the evening Rowan recalled how she loved looking through the artwork and how hard it was to choose from so many wonderful pieces in the collection.







Below is a small selection from the 40 artworks on display in the Imagine If... exhibition.


Bob Graham - Spirit of Hope 1993

Narelle Oliver - Bookaleidoscope, CBCA Art Work 1997
Cat and Fish 2003
Author: Joan Grant       Illustrator: Neil Curtis

Ice Flowers 1992
Book and research photographs 

Ice Flowers 1992
Author: Jutta Goetze      Illustrator: Patricia Mullins 


Elizabeth Honey - That's Not a Daffodil, storyboard















The children that visit the exhibition can create their own artwork (see table pictured right) and read books in the reading space.

Fallen in love the Bob Graham artwork used to promote Imagine If...? 
YES! Of Course.
Then please buy a raffle ticket to go into a draw to win the Bob Graham, Imagine If... unframed A3 artwork.
  • Raffle tickets are $5 each.
  • The raffle will be drawn on Sunday August 27 at 10 am at the Canberra Botanic Gardens.
  • The winner will also be announced through Facebook, Twitter and in the Centre's Newsletter.
  • If the winner is outside of Canberra the artwork will be shipped in appropriate packaging to ensure it arrives safely.
  • Tickets can be bought by emailing Trish Milne at ncaclraffle@gmail.com saying how many tickets you would like and giving your postal address. 
  • For more details see here, the information is towards the bottom of the page.
Want to know more about the Imagine If...exhibition and Bob Graham?
Interview with ABC's Louise Maher and Rowan Simpkin see here.
Monitor article with Emeritus Professor Belle Alderman AM see here.
Her Canberra interview with Bob Graham see here.
Reading Time article about the exhibition see here

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