ABR by Margaret Robson Kett 03 February 2023

State Library of NSW

Just follow the ants,’ said a smiling guide at the Macquarie Street entrance to the State Library of New South Wales. I was led up the stairs by Tohby Riddle’s jaunty decals of those excellent insects to Imagine … the Wonder of Picture Books.

The viewer is invited to ‘find old and new favourites’ and welcomed to the exhibition by Bronwyn Bancroft’s acrylic painting for her book Coming Home to Country (Little Hare, 2020). A small jewel of a painting for the 1983 book The Magic Firesticks by Lardil man Goobalathaldin (Dick Roughsey) and Percy Tresize glows nearby. Artwork by contemporary artist and designer Alison Colpoys and the almost-forgotten Junko Morimoto, and others, has been reproduced, wall-sized, within the space, and there is an island devoted to the sublime Shaun Tan. Loans from other institutions have supplemented a strong core of cultural gifts and acquisitions from the Library…

‘The best stories never end,’ said the littlest ant, ‘they keep on going, inside you.’

Imagine … the Wonder of Picture Books is at the State Library of New South Wales until 9 July 2023.

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