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Illustrations for children spring eternal

ILLUSTRATORS of children's books from around the world gather in Bratislava every second year. They participate in the world's most important happening of its kind, the Biennial of Illustrations in Bratislava (BIB). They showcase their latest achievements and discuss the future of the child's illustrated world. The event has a history dating back 40 years.
"The children's book is eternal, " Dušan Roll, General Commissioner of BIB said at the opening ceremony in the Slovak National Theatre on September 9.

A WORK by Ali Reza Goldouzian, of Iran, 2005 Grand Prix winner.
photo: Courtesy of BIB

ILLUSTRATORS of children's books from around the world gather in Bratislava every second year. They participate in the world's most important happening of its kind, the Biennial of Illustrations in Bratislava (BIB). They showcase their latest achievements and discuss the future of the child's illustrated world. The event has a history dating back 40 years.

"The children's book is eternal, " Dušan Roll, General Commissioner of BIB said at the opening ceremony in the Slovak National Theatre on September 9.

To get some insight into what Roll means, visit the Culture House at Námestie SNP 12 in Bratislava.

PAWEL Pawlak, Poland.
photo: Courtesy of BIB

The almost 3,000 originals submitted by 410 illustrators from 48 countries show that the children's book has a worldwide reach.

More illustrations can be found on show at foreign institutes in Bratislava and the International House of Art for Children, Bibiana.

European countries are strongly represented: the northern ones bring their special "poetics", BIB organizers say. Iran is also attending, represented by an impressive and vivid collection. China and Venezuela are rejoining the event after a long break, and New Zealand and South Korea are participating for the first time.

KOMAKO Sakai, Japan.
photo: Courtesy of BIB

To celebrate the 20th jubilee anniversary of this world event, the organizers have invited 100 illustrators, more than the number that entered the competition in 2003. Maybe that was the reason why the 13-member international jury had a hard time on deciding who would pick up this year's Grand Prix award. Finally they decided on Iranian illustrator Ali Reza Goldouzian.

"It often happened in previous years that you entered the room and knew immediately which work was the winner. This time that didn't happen," said Maha Bulos, chairman of the jury and UNESCO representative.

ĽUBOSLAV Palo, Slovakia.
photo: Courtesy of BIB

BIB has mapped and regularly displayed the visual world of children's books since 1967. In the 20 times it has been held, the event has displayed over 40,000 original illustrations from more than 5,000 artists from almost 100 countries.

Since its very beginnings BIB has bridged political, religious and cultural divides. "BIB joined the West to the East when the world was divided into two opposite poles," said Roll.

United on the map through art, the professional illustrators personally meet one another every second year, not

CARLL Cneut, Belgium.
photo: Courtesy of BIB

only to compete but also to discuss and compare the steps they take when trying to link their imagination with that of children.

Workshops and seminars are held for the purpose.

To test the illustrations' effectiveness, the artists often ask children to give their opinions on their works.

But you do not have to be a child to appreciate illustrations for children. All you need is an open heart and a fertile imagination.

Note: The illustrations on this page all received awards this year.


Biennial of Illustrations in Bratislava
Where:Dom kultúry (House of Culture), Námestie SNP 12, Bratislava.

PIERRE Pratt, Canada.
photo: Courtesy of BIB

When: Until the end of October.
Tickets: Sk20 (children), Sk40 (adults).
The event's accompanying, non-competitive exhibitions take place in foreign institutions in Bratislava and Bibiana at Panská 41.

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