Maui and The Big Fish

Be amazed by original illustrations from Frané Lessac and Babara Ker Wilson’s story Maui and The Big Fish, on display now at the State Library of Western Australia.

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Frane Lessac, “Front cover illustration Maui and the big fish”, gouache on paper and acrylic, PWC/137, State Library of Western Australia

The illustrations in the exhibition form part of the State Library’s Peter Williams Collection of original artworks by leading Australian illustrators. 

Maui and The Big Fish tells the Polynesian folk tale of “Maui of the Thousand tricks”. Maui dreamed that one day he could go fishing with his brothers, each time he asked his brothers they would make excuses, “Maui is too small. He will never catch a fish”.

How Maui outwitted his brothers to catch the biggest fish in the ocean is part of a New Zealand creation story. Over many thousands of years the fish became part of the landscape and the islands of Maui, Molokai, Kuaii, Hawaii, Oahu and Lanai.

Lessac’s beautifully rendered gauche and acrylic paintings are full of colour and movement.  Words by Babara Ker Wilson introduce young readers to new vocabulary and concepts.

Frané Lessac is an award winning author, illustrator, and painter who lives and works in Western Australia. She has published and collaborated on over 35 books for children including: My Little Island, A is For Australia,  Magic Boomerang, Midnight and Simpson and his Donkey and many more.

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Frane Lessac, “Maui’s mother told her four big sons”, gouache on paper and acrylic, PWC/132 State Library of Western Australia

Maui and The Big Fish will be on display in The Place Gallery until February 29 2016. For more information visit our website.

  • Visit the exhibition during our Books From Your Backyard Family Day on Saturday 16 January to create an illustration with Frane Lessac.
  • Copies of Maui and The Big Fish (Published by Frances Lincoln, 2003) are available to purchase from the State Library shop.

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“Our” Shaun won an Oscar!

Shaun Tan, WA born and bred illustrator and author of many award winning picutre books, has won an Oscar for the best short animated film.

The Lost Thing was narrated by Perth boy Tim Minchin and is a gentle quirky film about a very large thing that nobody notices, based on Shaun’s book. It’s very exciting to see Shaun receive international recognition for his enormous talent – and lovely to know that he honed his talents and was supported by so many people here in Perth. The State Library has several of his original artworks, and all his books in the collection. Well done Shaun!

Click here for article and speech:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/02/28/3150858.htm?site=perth

Shaun also won the Dromkeen Medal (a big deal in the children’s literature world) and his eloquent speech is here – SLWA is mentioned!

http://blogs.abc.net.au/victoria/2011/02/shaun-tan-oscar-and-dromkeen-medal-winner.html?site=centralvic&program=central_victoria_mornings