Shapes and patterns abound in this work of art in picture book form. The ingenious concept of depicting the Australian landscape in shapes is executed with originality and skill. Shapes that match and suggest the natural elements of the ocean, boulders and termite nests are patterned with Bundjalung artist Bronwyn Bancroft’s signature curves and dots, with several angular exceptions.
‘Treetops circle each other in a wild bush dance’ are shown as wheel-like circles. ‘Majestic mountains’ are triangles. Native beehives are hexagons filled with honey dots. Luminous colours are created from acrylic paints on archival paper.
The sparse written text is poetic and metaphorical at times. ‘Grasslands create a quilt of nature’s comfort.’ ‘The wavy sea frolics .…’ The text is often abstract, providing imaginative space for readers to provide their own interpretation. This book conjures an immersive, kaleidoscopic experience.
In her book, ‘The Art in Country : a Treasury for Children’ (Little Hare, 2020) Bronwyn Bancroft compiles four of her earlier published books: ‘Colours of Australia’; ‘Patterns of Australia’; ‘Shapes of Australia’; and ‘Why I Love Australia’. The compilation includes additional double-page spreads which encourage the viewer to look closer at the Australian environment and to find patterns in the sky, bush, night time, desert, wildflowers, river, wetlands, rainforest, ocean and reef. Here are myriad details that offer a rich and rewarding exposure to visual literacy and art techniques while showcasing the Australia environment.