State Library of South Australia

It’s time to say goodbye to the Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective exhibition

Date: 22 June 2015

It's been a busy time at the State Library as we've hosted one of our most popular exhibitions, the Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective.

Copyright and TM Hairy Maclary and Friends Lynley Dodd 2015
© & TM Hairy Maclary and Friends, Lynley Dodd, 2015

Over the past two months a record number of people have come through our doors to see the exhibition which celebrated the work of Dame Lynley Dodd, renowned children's author and artist. During the exhibition, 32,000 people have admired over 50 original artworks and book drafts of the unforgettable Hairy Maclary series, the Schnitzel Von Krumm series, Slinky Malinki and Scarface Claw.

It all started on the 29th March when Hairy Maclary came to town with all his friends for the family fun day. Dame Lynley Dodd, signing books on the day, was amazed with the number of people that came to see her and her adored animal characters.

We were also lucky enough to have Penelope Jackson, curator of the exhibition, do an exclusive floor talk of Dodd's work from her school days to her latest book.

The exhibition had something for all ages. For many it evoked childhood memories of listening to their parents or grandparents read the bouncy rhymes in Lynley Dodd's books. Children loved the drawings and seeing their favourite characters like Hairy Maclary and Schnitzel Von Krumm (with a very low tum!), while adults were taken on a trip down memory lane.

The exhibition highlighted the beauty of the books not only for their artwork but also for the magic of sharing the stories through generations of families - children, grandchildren.

Visitors took the time to write their thoughts in the visitors' book, including:

"It is a real thrill to see original artwork of someone I and my family have loved for years - exceptional."

"Brought a smile to my face - simply lovely!"

And from our younger visitors:

"The art is epic" (7 years old)

"Best exhibition ever!"

Our Education Team has also been extremely busy providing an education program around the exhibition. The program involved three parts:

  1. exploring the exhibition with a Learning to Look bag
  2. storytelling and language, and
  3. connection to our collection through discovering the true story of South Australia's own Hairy Maclary, Bob the railway dog.

Nearly 4,000 children, ranging in age from 3 to 17 years old have experienced the education program. Feedback received from students and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. One teacher commented:

"Was extremely well organised. We were met outside and directed to all our different locations. The staff were helpful and pleased to see us. I liked the feely bags as they allowed the children to interact with the drawings. I liked the story of Bob as the children were so interested in all the details of Bob's life."

Even though the exhibition is returning to New Zealand the memory of this magical exhibition remains in the hearts of those that came to see it.

Story by: Tracey Parnis

Back to e-xtra Winter 2015 stories

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