Artist and book illustrator Aušra Kiudulaitė recently received good news: her work was chosen for the main illustrators’ exhibition at the Bologna (Italy) book fair, which will be held 3-6 April this year. In October of last year, Kiudulaitė submitted her illustrations for Evelina Daciūtė’s book Laimė yra lapė (Tikra knyga, 2016) to the competition. Over all, more than 3,000 illustrators from around the world participated in the competition.
“Two years ago, when I first visited the Bologna book fair, I wouldn’t have even dreamed of such a victory,” the artist beamed.
For more than half a century, the annual children’s book fair in Bologna has held illustration to be equally as important as the text, and illustrators’ names can sometimes ring louder than authors’ names here. Every year, all of the world’s book illustration trends and styles gather in Bologna. Lithuanian publications for children and illustrators’ works have been displayed here since 1989. In 2011, our country was a guest of honour at the fair. The national display, organised by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, will feature the most beautiful children’s books. The Institute has also announced an invitation for beginning illustrators who have not yet published their work or who have published no more than three books.
In 2015, artist Kiudulaitė responded to this invitation. After a visit to the fair, she decided to participate in the fair’s Silent Book Contest. Last year, she was a finalist in this contest.
“Bologna helped me refine my style and take my first steps in this profession. I saw that an elephant could be drawn this way, that way or yet another way, but that you could always come back and draw it yet again – in your own way! The most important thing for me was to enjoy what I do, not to feel ashamed of it, and to dare to speak in my own voice. I believe that when you find your own voice, you find everything else as well,” said Kiudulaitė, discussing her experiences at the Bologna book fair.
In earlier years, works by Kęstutis Kasparavičius (thirteen times!), Stasys Eidrigevičius, Rimantas Rolia, Rimvydas Kepžinskas and other artists have also made it into the Bologna book fair’s exhibition of illustrators.
After the fair, the exhibition will set out on a world tour: the works will be displayed in five Japanese art museums, six Chinese national libraries, and Chicago’s Columbia College in the USA.
In addition, Kiudulaitė is also currently awaiting news from the famous Nami book illustrators’ competition in Korea, where the fox she created also made it into the so-called “short list.”