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International Illustration Exhibition on City Life at Estonian Children’s Literature Centre

Until May 4, the exhibition “Telling the City” is open in the hall and staircase gallery of the Estonian Children’s Literature Center, featuring the works of illustrators from three Baltic countries and Poland.

The exhibition originated as an idea last year when Vilnius celebrated its 700th anniversary. The exhibition reflects how the city is portrayed in children’s books. Throughout the ages, nature has been considered a safer environment for children than the city, which is often depicted as fast, even dangerous place. Therefore, the curators wanted to bring the city to the forefront with this exhibition and emphasize its importance in children’s book illustrations. The exhibition showcases urban spaces from various perspectives and answers questions about what the city represents to artists from the participating countries, how a societal city becomes someone’s own, and what makes it a beautiful and safe place for a child to live in.

The exhibition is divided into several parts. Each section reflects the essence of the city itself, its urbanization, and life within it. The narrative is based on three themes: the city as a living organism, including buildings, street networks, transport, and the people involved; life in the city, including celebrations and daily activities, shops, crafts, and professions; the undiscovered city – utopian, diverse, mysterious, and enchanting. The structure of the exhibition itself adds to the feeling of being in the city, so certain rules of movement must be followed.

The exhibition “Telling the City” presents the works of 20 illustrators from four countries. Each artist invites the audience to take a closer look at the city, experience its artistic side, and read its stories – whether they are real or imaginary. The illustrations are created by the following artists: Ieva Babilaitė, Inga Dagilė, Simona Jurčiukonytė, Aušra Kiudulaitė, and Martynas Pavilonis from Lithuania; Aleksejs Naumovs, Gundega Muzikante, Līva Ozola, Anita Paegle, and Anna Vaivare from Latvia; Kärt Einasto, Ragne Hoog, Marja-Liisa Plats, Ulla Saar, and Reda Tomingas from Estonia; Maciek Blaźniak, Katarzyna Bogucka, Dominika Czerniak-Chojnacka, Gosia Kulik, and Adam Pękalski from Poland.

The exhibition is accompanied by an educational programme for primary school pupils. On Saturday, April 13, a family morning event related to the exhibition will take place at the Children’s Literature Center, and all interested are welcome.

Illustration by Polish artist Katarzyna Bogucka