School, Adult and Family Program Story by Tyrion Perkins
The exhibition of an illustrator’s work is always a highlight of the Story Arts Festival in Ipswich, but this year it took on new meaning as Narelle Oliver passed away during the planning stages in October last year.
Jenny Stubbs, organiser of Story Arts, had first talked with Narelle about the exhibition in 2015. Jenny suggested focusing on her book “Rock Pool Secrets” that was due to come out in 2017, but Narelle said she was working on a new book that would include some of her artwork from past works. Thus the exhibition focused on “I want to be in a book.”
When you walk into Ipswich Community Gallery, the character Cecil guides you through the exhibition of Narelle’s original artwork from the book, complete with handmade notes. He was a little outline drawing that sat on Narelle’s wall for many years, watching her make book after book. One day, she felt, he wanted to join in and be in a book himself. Thus, the book (and exhibition) shows his adventures as he has a go entering many of her other books, but eventually gets to have his own.
You can take part with interactive elements by downloading an app to your phone or tablet. When you hover it over small pictures on the wall, Cecil starts to move about. This Augmented Reality component was created by Activate Entertainment, led by Tyronne Curtis. Watch Cecil move around the room, swim, and even blast off in a rocket.
The exhibition was curated by Lee FullARTon who had first met Narelle in a festival ten years ago. They did an artist in residency together at Riverview State School with Darryl Bellingham. She has a lot of affection for Narelle and it was a work of love to put together the exhibition. Narelle’s husband, Greg, daughter Jessie Oliver and friend Megan Daley helped put together a replica of Narelle’s studio, complete with actual furniture, tools, and bits of artwork.
Also on display are some of her lino prints, and Lee showed students the painstaking process of carving one out. You can also flip through books of many recognisable art from her other books. Lee spent the week of Story Arts leading school students through the exhibition, and asked each what memory they would take with them? They said “The artwork,” “books,” “the studio,” and “how amazing Narelle must have been.”
The exhibition also includes animations outside the gallery at 6.00-7.00pm each evening. These are drawn by students from Bethany Lutheran Primary School and Blair State School, and animated with elements of Narelle’s own work by Miles Blow and Jules Pitts.
The exhibition will continue until the end of September with children’s workshops on 20th, 21th, and adults on 24th September. To book into the workshops go to idtl.net.au. You can even get to know the exhibition in detail, as Lee is also looking for volunteers to help for a day or even half a day. Shifts are 10am-1.30pm and 1.30pm-4.00pm. Email Jenny at email@example.com if you would like to help.
Blogging Team 2017