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The value of children's books cannot be overestimated. Through books a child encounters high culture, literature and visual arts for the first time. The books we expose our children to should be true works of art, well and beautifully designed, not a cajolery or too childish. It is indeed books that shape a child’s sense of aesthetics and the ability to appreciate the beauty.

Poland has a rich, two-hundred-year old tradition in the illustration of children's books. In the decades between 1950-1980, such illustration received recognition throughout the world. The phenomenon originated with the best Polish artists and creators of the Polish School of Posters, such as Roman Cieślewicz, Janusz Stanny, and Henryk Tomaszewski. Around this time is when it started being referred to as the “Polish school of illustration". Our books have been noticed and given awards all over the world. They were valued for their ease, richness of form and unique approach.

There has been a recent revival of the genre in Poland. Within the last 12 years, small publishing houses which take the risk of releasing artistically innovative books have been established (and continue to be). Their avant-garde approach has been once again noticed in the world. In recent years Polish books have regularly received international awards for children’s literature - such as the Bologna Ragazzi Award.

In our exhibition during the Expo 2017, we showcase the latest achievements of Polish illustrators. We present exceptional books illustrated by 16 graphic artists, standouts in the field. The chosen books show the variety, boldness, talent and ingenuity of the artists. The interactive form of the exhibition is designed to encourage guests to play with and get to know their work. Visitors will get the chance to become cartoon characters from the presented books, thanks to an application that allows them to see themselves with a cartoon head. Moreover, they can animate it all through a dedicated application and animations, which bring the illustrations to life.

Ewa Solarz

Curator: Ewa Solarz

Exhibition design: Kosmos Project

Visual identification: Robert Czajka

Multimedia animation: Delivr.pl

Animations: Olga Brańska, Anna Brauntsch, Łukasz Mackiewicz, Bartłomiej Ogłoza, Piotr Skulimowski, Karol Szczepankiewicz

Production: Monika Brauntsch

Participating illustrators:

Edgar Bąk, Katarzyna Bogucka, Iwona Chmielewska, Robert Czajka, Agata Dudek, Emilia Dziubak, Małgorzata Gurowska, Monika Hanulak, Marta Ignerska, Aleksandra i Daniel Mizielińscy, Marianna Oklejak, Paweł Pawlak, Ola Płocińska, Dawid Ryski, Piotr Socha, Marianna Sztyma

Publishing houses:

Albus, Bajka, Centrala, Czerwony Konik, Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry, Egmont, Ezop, Gestalten, Kultura Gniewu, Nasza Księgarnia, Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego, Ringo, Warstwy, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Wytwórnia, Widnokrąg, Tatarak, Tamaryn, Wydawnictwo Znak, Wydawnictwo Literackie.

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