Dog Tales, an exhibition at the University of Canberra

Dog Tales was an exhibition held in May – June 2021 that showcased original works of art from children’s books on the theme of dogs. The works of art were drawn together from the collections held by the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature and developed by a project team of Work Integrated Learning student interns at the University of Canberra.

Why Dog Tales? Whilst looking through part of the collection, it became quickly apparent that there was a lot of material that related to puppies, dogs and pets. So, why not create displays based on this theme? Dogs have been a close companion to humans ever since curling up beside a fire of a camp way back in the mists of time. Since then they have occupied a wide variety of roles and activities. They have been hunting dogs, companion dogs, shepherd dogs, sporting dogs and more besides. They have been a constant companion. We may even attribute human characteristics to them. Dogs therefore seemed an easy theme to create a number of sub-themes.

Companion dogs illustrates the very essence of friendship that dogs bring. Adventure gives a sense of play and that one-to-one relationship with dogs. A helping hand illustrates the role that dogs play and work with people. The creative process illustrates what it takes to produce artwork for children’s books.

The works of art on display include original art by award winning and celebrated artists Alison Lester, Bob Graham, Andrew McLean, Ann James, Patricia Mullins and Bev Aisbet. Some of the illustrations on display show initial sketches and the creative processes that go behind some of our most loved children’s books.

As well as seeing the actual illustrations for books well loved by many generations, we hope that you also enjoy the sense of empathy that these illustrations create with our ever-growing relationship with our pets.

Click here to see a sample of work in the Gallery & Exhibitions space.