Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved

April 4 Tableau Vivant Image_darkened_2.jpg

Still scene: Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved, 2016, Nicola Kaye, Stephen Terry.

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved visually questions how history is made, commemorated and forgotten. Through digital art installation, Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry expose the unobserved and manipulate our perception of the past.  Their work juxtaposes archival and contemporary imagery to create an experience for the visitor where unobserved lives from the archive collide with the contemporary world.

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved is the culmination of the State Library’s inaugural J.S. Battye Creative Fellowship.  The Creative Fellowship aims to enhance engagement with the Library’s heritage collections and provide new experiences for the public.

Artists floor talk
Thursday 6 April, 6pm
Ground Floor Gallery, State Library of Western Australia.

Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry walk you through Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved

In conversation with the J.S. Battye Creative Fellows
Thursday 27 April, 6pm
State Library Theatre.

How can contemporary art lead to new discoveries about collections and ways of engaging with history?  Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry will discuss this idea drawing from the experience of creating Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved.

Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved is showing at the State Library from 4 April – 12 May 2017.
For more information visit: www.slwa.wa.gov.au

Simpson and his Donkey – an exhibition

Illustrations by Frané Lessac and words by Mark Greenwood share the heroic story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick in the picture book Simpson and his Donkey.  The exhibition is on display at the State Library until  27 April. 

simpson
Unpublished spread 14 for pages 32 – 33
Collection of draft materials for Simpson and his Donkey, PWC/254/18 

The original illustrations, preliminary sketches and draft materials displayed in this exhibition form part of the State Library’s Peter Williams’ collection: a collection of original Australian picture book art.

Known as ‘the man with the donkey’, Simpson was a medic who rescued wounded soldiers at Gallipoli during World War I.

The bravery and sacrifice attributed to Simpson is now considered part of the ‘Anzac legend’. It is the myth and legend of John Simpson that Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood tell in their book.

Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood also travelled to Anzac Cove to explore where Simpson and Duffy had worked.  This experience and their research enabled them to layer creative interpretation over historical information and Anzac legend.

simpson2

On a moonless April morning, PWC254/6 

Frané Lessac is a Western Australian author-illustrator who has published over forty books for children. Frané speaks at festivals in Australia and overseas, sharing the process of writing and illustrating books. She often illustrates books by , Mark Greenwood, of which Simpson and his Donkey is just one example.

Simpson and his Donkey is published by Walker Books, 2008. The original illustrations are  display in the Story Place Gallery until 27 April 2017.

  • This exhibition is supported by a self-guided trail and educators guide. For school group bookings visit our website.
  • Copies of the book are available for sale from the Discovery Store at the State Library.

IMG_1233.JPG

Teacup – One Boy’s Story of Leaving His Homeland

slwa_b4638726_23

“Once there was a boy who had to leave home …and find another. In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket. In his teacup he held some earth from where he used to play”

A musical performance adapted from the picture book Teacup written by Rebecca Young and illustrated Matt Ottley, will premiere at the State Library of Western Australia as part of Fringe Festival. 

Accompanied by musicians from Perth chamber music group Chimera Ensemble, Music Book’s Narrator Danielle Joynt and Lark Chamber Opera’s soprano composer Emma Jayakumar, the presentation of Teacup will be a truly ‘multi-modal’ performance, where the music of Matt Ottley will ‘paint’ the colours, scenery and words into life.

Performance Times:

Fri 27 January 2:30pm
Sat 28 January 10:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm
Sun 29 January 10:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm

  • Suitable for all ages.
  • Bookings not required

Matt Ottley’s original paintings from the picture book Teacup from part of the State Library’s Peter Williams collection of original picture book art. The artworks will be displayed in  Teacup – an exhibition in the ground floor gallery between 20 January – 24 March 2017.

Image credit: Cover illustration for Teacup, Matt Ottley, 2015. State Library of Western Australia, PWC/255/01  Reproduced in the book Teacup written by Rebecca Young with illustrations by Matt Ottley. Published by Scholastic, 2015.

This event is supported by the City of Perth 

A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day

Can cats fly? 
Can a goat be a superhero?
Can a sausage go for a walk? 

sausage
Peter Kendall, Out of the gate marched breakfast,  reproduced in A Sausage Went for a Walk by Ellisha Majid and Peter Kendall, 1991. Published by Fremantle Press. 

In picture books anything is possible, just as anything is possible in the imagination of a child.  The power of picture books to ignite imagination is highlighted in our current exhibition,  A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day – celebrating Western Australian picture books and 40 fabulous years of Fremantle Press

Beginning with the award winning,  A Sausage Went for a Walk  (1991) by Ellisha Majid and Peter Kendall, the exhibition includes artwork drawn from the State Library Williams collection of illustrations, as well as artwork loaned from illustrators.

Readers of picture books usually only see the finished product in the form of the published book. The process of book making is revealed in this exhibition through sketches, storyboards, colour experiments, text revisions, and published artwork.  The artworks in the exhibition reveal surprising insights into how picture books are brought to life. This post will explore five of these ideas.

1. A work in progress
Illustrations from Palo Morgan’s book Cat Balloon highlight how stories often change during the process of illustration.  A closer look at sketches show cat balloon depicted with arms outstretched, and  wings attached to his back.  In the published illustration below Cat Balloon is shown pursuing his dream to fly by other means.

slwa_b4638614_13
Palo Morgan, To sea in a large silver spoon, reproduced in Cat Balloon by Palo Morgan, 1992. Published by Fremantle Press. State Library of Western Australia collection, PWC/253 

2. From big to small 
Picture books are portable art. They are small enough to be held in little hands. To capture detail of shape and form,  many illustrators choose to work with a larger scale. Moira Court’s, Leaping in single bound for the story My Superhero (written by Chris Owen) is more than four times the size of the published book!

slwa_b3302613_22_master
Moira Court, Leaping in a single bound, reproduced in My Superhero by Chris Owen and Moira Court. Published by Fremantle Press, 2012. State Library of Western Australia collection, PWC/218. 

3. Hints of home 
A picture book can be found and read anywhere in the world, and translated into a variety of different languages and formats.  The picture books featured in A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day have all been published in Western Australia, and embedded within them, are connections to place and the daily lives of their creators.

Street scenes of Fremantle in Sonia Martinez illustrations for The World According to Warren (written by Craig Silvey) might be recognisable to visitors.

pwc_115_martinez
Sonia Martinez, And he was never again distracted whilst on duty, reproduced in The World According to Warren by Craig Silvey and Sonia Martinez. Published by Fremantle Press, 2007. State Library of Western Australia collection, PWC/115

The colours and patterns found in Sally Morgan’s illustration, Beneath the stars we all sleep. are inspired by her close observation of the Western Australian landscape, and the inter-connectedness of humans and the natural environment.

weallsleepcropped
Sally Morgan, Beneath the stars we all sleep, reproduced in We All Sleep by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Sally Morgan. Published by Fremantle Press, 2016.

4. Universal themes 
Picture books succinctly deal with complex themes and messages with global relevance. These range from cultural diversity, social inclusion, environmental concern, and  the impacts of historical events, particularly war and its aftermath. They communicate about human emotions as varied as joy, to loneliness and grief, and themes of family, friends, belonging, and home. They affirm the importance of the imagination , which has the power to unlock dreams and human potential.

theotherbears

Michael Thompson, But we love their food, reproduced in The Other Bears by Michael Thompson. Published by Fremantle Press, 2010.

 

5. Medium and the message
Illustrators carefully select a style and technique which compliments the words. Some styles are detailed, while other styles are more spontaneous and free flowing. Each technique has a different effect on the viewer.  The repetition of shapes and the geometric style of Kyle Hughes-Odgers, as seen in On a Small Island and Ten Tiny Things, draws attention to details in line, pattern, and shape. In contrast, Brian Simmonds’s realism in Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy provokes an emotional response.

on-a-small-island-jpg

Kyle Hughes-Odgers, So many strange buildings, reproduced in On a Small Island by Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Published by Fremantle Press, 2014.  

A Sausage Went for a Walk One Day is presented by Fremantle Press, the State Library of Western Australia and AWESOME Arts. It was launched as part of the 2016 AWESOME Festival and Fremantle Press 40 Year Anniversary celebrations.  It runs until 31 December 2016. For opening hours go to www.slwa.wa.gov.au

  • Curatorial tours on the art of picture books will be conducted on the following days and times: Monday 17 October 12:00pm – 12:45pm, Friday 11 November 1:00pm – 1:45pm, Wednesday 23 November 12:00pm – 12:45pm. For bookings go to slwa.eventbrite.com.au 
  • Books featured in the exhibition are available to purchase from The Discovery Store at the State Library.

Unfinished Business

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this exhibition contains images and names of deceased persons.

Without stories there is silence. 
Without stories told, we are voiceless. 
Without our stories heard , we are invisible. 
This is very hard, when the stories are hard to hear,
difficult to see and impossible to imagine.

Unfinished Business
 reveals the visual stories of 30  Indigenous Australian’s with disabilities, by photographer Belinda Mason and film makers Knierim Brothers.

Belinda Mason’s photographs present some of the untold stories, which are part of the social and cultural fabric of Western Australia, and the nation.

“Every story is complex and intertwined with Australia’s political and social history, which has resulted in today’s unacceptably high rates of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities….Through their involvement in the project each participant draws much-needed attention to critical issues that impact on their lives. Participants of the exhibition live with a wide range of disability experiences – acquired, congenital, sensory, psychological, intellectual, visible and invisible.”-  Belinda Mason

The exhibition includes a number of photographs of individuals from Western Australian regional areas including Mowanjum, Geraldton, and Carnarvon.

One of the West Australian’s featured is June Oscar, a woman of Bunuba descent. June Oscar is the Grandmother of Hudson who has Feotal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

June Oscar

The Matriarch, June Oscar. Photograph by Belinda Mason. 

“I am the Grandmother of Hudson. It was not right that our little children were growing up in this environment who are living their lives with unique and complex needs as a result of alcohol exposure in utero. So in 2007 the women got together and made a strong and final decision that we would apply for alcohol restrictions in our community. We want our people to know that, this is their community, that this community cares about them and that we are prepared to make the hard decisions and stand up”

Accessibility is at the heart of this exhibition. People with sensory, cognitive and learning impairments are able to engage with the exhibition through OpenAcessTours a mobile app available for apple and android devices.

The power of this exhibition lies in its ability to evoke empathy,  as Mason explains,

“We cannot argue when someone says ‘I feel…’ – it is not our right. It is part of our own journey to learn empathy rather than compassion. Our reaction exposes us to to ourselves, and reminds us that we all need the ability to listen when someone lays their soul naked in our path”.

Gary Umbagai

The Hanging Tree, Gary Umbagai. Photograph by Belinda Mason

Unfinished Business is on display at the State Library until 3 June 2016. For more information visit our website.

  • Copies of the book of the same name can be purchased from the State Library Shop
  • Parental guidance is advised for young children visiting the exhibition
  • The State Library is a wheelchair accessible venue

Behind the Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans

This exhibition shares the stories of over 40 veterans, including 12 West Australians through contemporary photographs and interviews by Susan Gordon Brown. 

Behind The Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans. Photos: Susan Gordon Brown. 7 August - 27 September 2015

Behind The Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans. Photos: Susan Gordon Brown.
7 August – 27 September 2015

Politically and socially, the Vietnam War cut a wide swathe through Australian society and especially through the lives and families of those who served.

The photographs of official war photographers, photojournalists and the personal photographic records of soldiers, provide an important account of this time. Vietnam, with its reputation as the “television war” saw the rise of the assertion of the ‘the public’s right to know’ where debates around the photograph fueled global politics.

Perhaps the most famous personal photographic records are those of soldier Andy Mattay and his Kodak Instamatic documentation of the 7RAR , a photographic collection held by the National War Memorial.

We know all to well that a photo only ever captures part of a story.  Experiences of war and conflict are not limited to the battlefront. So too, the need to document and capture the history of the Vietnam War is ongoing as previously untold stories come to the fore. It is important that the stories both the the war and its aftermath are told.

The American unit that I’d worked with closely gave me a farewell party the day before I flew out of Vietnam. I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to go home. In hindsight, the war was a great waste of life and money, but I wouldn’t have missed it for quids. HQ AFV Kevin Graham b.1936 Ammunition Technical Officer Vung Tau September 1968 – March 1969 Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

The American unit that I’d worked with closely gave me a farewell party the day before I flew out of Vietnam. I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to go home. In hindsight, the war was a great waste of life and money, but I wouldn’t have missed it for quids.
HQ AFV Kevin Graham b.1936
Ammunition Technical Officer
Vung Tau
September 1968 – March 1969
Photo: Susan Gordon Brown


Behind the Wire
presents the everyday, personal stories of veterans through portraiture and oral history extracts. To quote journalist and writer Alan Attwood, “They have a shared history as Vietnam veterans. But each story, each face, each perspective is different”.

“When you returned to Australia you stepped out of a very surreal environment. The experience there was one of wondering: will I be alive tomorrow? Re-establishing the old values was probably the hardest thing to do. It’s almost as if you were between reality and fantasy” Glenn Darlington b.1946 I Gunner Signalman I Nui Dat I June 1968 – March 1969 Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

“When you returned to Australia you stepped out of a very surreal environment. The experience there was one of wondering: will I be alive tomorrow? Re-establishing the old values was probably the hardest thing to do. It’s almost as if you were between reality and fantasy” Glenn Darlington b.1946 I Gunner Signalman I Nui Dat I June 1968 – March 1969
Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

This is one of the reasons why Susan Gordon Brown’s work through Behind the Wire is significant. It highlights that the history of the war is a living history, very present in the memories of veterans, their families and friends. The oral history excerpts featured in the exhibition capture personal perspectives, unrepresented in official sources or history books. It is important to recognise these stories and equally important to collect and preserve them.

“Maybe it dawned on me – one minute I was flying around in a helicopter doing God knows what; then I was going back to work.” HQ AFV, AATTV John Riley b.1946 Medic Saigon, Baria January 1970 – December 1970

“Maybe it dawned on me – one minute I was flying around in a helicopter doing God knows what; then I was going back to work.”
HQ AFV, AATTV
John Riley b.1946 Medic Saigon, Baria January 1970 – December 1970, Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

The Library holds many items from World War I within its heritage collections – diaries, letters, and photographs. They belonged to West Australians who served in World War I or who remained here in Western Australia on the home front. Items of this nature are essential to keep these important stories alive for generations to come.

Collection of such material both honours the individuals or organisations concerned, but also provides the building blocks for researchers and historians, both amateur and professional.

The same is true for the history of the Vietnam War. Without material such as that which libraries like the State Library collects – oral, photographic, written – a representative account of the war and its aftermath and the personal experiences of people affected by it will not be available for posterity.

Behind the Wire: Images and Stories of Vietnam Veterans is on display in the ground floor gallery until September 27 2015. For more information visit: www.slwa.wa.gov.au 

  • Information on donating heritage material to the Library’s collection
  • Explore Bill Bunbury’s interview series on the Vietnam war for the radio series‘Within our time’, held within the Library’s collection

Missing Lives lunchtime talk: 27 May 12.30

In conjunction with the current Missing Lives exhibition, Claire Lawson from the Australian Red Cross will present a lunchtime talk.

Under what circumstances do people go missing?
What is the impact left on those waiting for answers?

The Red Cross International Tracing/Restoring Family Links is a unique free service that helps families by war, migration or disaster re-establish contact. Red Cross and Red Crescent societies work alongside the International Committee Red Cross in 189 countries around the globe to trace lost loved ones, exchange family news and clarify the fate of the missing.

When:
 Wednesday 27 May 12.30pm  (30 mins)
Where: The Nook , State Library of Western Australia
(The Nook is located on the ground floor at the Cultural Centre entrance to the library)

Missing Lives documents the plight of fifteen, of the thousands of families still waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones, classified as missing. Almost 20 years after the wars in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, and 13 years after the end of conflict in Kosovo, thousands remain unaccounted for.

Based on a book of the same name, this exhibition highlights the tragic consequences of what happens when the rules of war are not followed, but also illustrates the strength and resilience of survivors still searching for their missing friends and relatives.

For more information visit the State Library website 

Missing Lives

The tragedy of war and separation are powerful realities revealed in a photographic exhibition by award winning British photojournalist, Nick Danziger.

Taken in the aftermath of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Missing Lives documents the plight of a handful of families waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones, classified as missing.

Photograph: copyright Nick Danziger. No unathorised use or copying without permission

Photograph: Reproduced with permission. Copyright Nick Danziger. No unauthorised use or copying without permission.

Under international humanitarian law, authorities on all sides of a conflict have a legal duty to take every step to determine the fate of those who are missing and to pass this information on to their families. Almost 20 years after the wars in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, and 13 years after the end of conflict in Kosovo, thousands remain unaccounted for.

Based on a book of the same name, this exhibition highlights the tragic consequences of what happens when the rules of war are not followed, but also illustrates the strength and resilience of survivors still searching for their missing friends and relatives.

Photograph: Reproduced with permission. Copyright Nick Danziger. No unauthorised use or copying without permission.

Photograph: Reproduced with permission. Copyright Nick Danziger. No unauthorised use or copying without permission.

Two lunchtime talks will be presented in conjunction with the Missing Lives exhibit.

Missing during war
What happens when people go missing in war? Claire Lawson from the Australian Red Cross reveals the impact left on those waiting for answers, why so many people remain unaccounted for, and how the Red Cross can assist.

Wednesday 27 May, 12.30 – 1:00 (30 mins)
Wednesday 17 June, 12.30 – 1:00 (30 mins)

Missing Lives in on display at the State Library from 20 May – 30 June. For more information visit our website. Missing lives is presented by The Australian Red Cross and is supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Lotterywest.  

 

Living Histories exhibition goes on tour

The Living Histories exhibtion is going on tour around Western Australia. This popular exhibtion comprises personal stories of life in Western Australia post World War II. Touring the exhibition was inspired by the popularity of the initital display of 30 stories in the Perth Town Hall in October 2008. The exhibition generated a lot of interest and inspired the Department for Communities to undertake to get the stories around the State with the support of the State Library and WA public libraries.

Tour Dates:
5 March to 17 April:
William Grundt Memorial Library,  Roberts Street,  Kalgoorlie.
Narrogin Public Library Cnr Earl and Federal Streets, Narrogin
Collie Public Library, Wittenoon Street, Collie
More dates

The State Library of Western Australia is a community partner of the Living Histories project, an initiative of the Department for Communities and “Have A Go News”.  More information is available from the Seniors Card website.