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'The Illustrators' exhibition to visit Shetland

by Deborah Leggate -

The Illustrators: An exhibition of contemporary children's book illustration curated by Julia Donaldson


An exhibition of contemporary children's book illustration curated by author Julia Donaldson and organised by The Park Gallery, Falkirk and Artlink Central is due to start a tour of the UK following the recent news that Julia Donaldson has been appointed Children's Laureate. It has been announced this week that Shetland Arts" Bonhoga Gallery is to be the first venue in the tour, in a change to their exhibition schedule for this August/September.

Julia Donaldson is the author of over 150 books for children and besides writing well-known books with Axel Scheffler including The Gruffalo, The Snail and the Whale and most recently Zog, she has collaborated with many other illustrators. Julia is also Patron of Artlink Central, a charity in Central Scotland which puts artists, musicians and storytellers into schools, hospitals, prisons and community spaces to work with children and adults and help them develop their talent and creativity.

The exhibition was originally put together as a partnership initiative between Falkirk Council (who run the Park Gallery) and Artlink Central but due to its overwhelming success and rave reviews it has been adapted for tour. Gillian Smith, Arts Development Officer in Falkirk said, “We created the exhibition with Julia and a selection of the illustrators that she works with her earlier this year. It has been such a success - bringing over 7000 visitors to the Park Gallery during the 7 weeks that it was on show. There was a great atmosphere around the exhibition with people of all ages, families and groups attending”.

Jane Matthews of Shetland Arts said, “we are absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure the Illustrator show for Bonhoga. It is going to be a wonderful chance for families to engage with their favourite story books and see such brilliant and familiar illustrations first hand”.

The exhibition includes original works by contemporary illustrators, examples of preparatory work - sketches, ideas and a unique display of illustrated envelopes by Axel Scheffler - he always decorates the envelope with illustrations when he writes to Julia!

The show will run from Saturday 20th August until Sunday 25th September. Coinciding with Shetland Arts" book festival Wordplay (on the first weekend of September), it promises to be a busy season for bookworms young and old.

For more information contact Jane Matthews, Shetland Arts, (01595) 743843 or

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