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Mysterious 'creature' Cecil to light up festival

The much loved character 'Cecil', drawn by Narelle Oliver, will light up the Story Arts Festival in Ipswich.
The much loved character 'Cecil', drawn by Narelle Oliver, will light up the Story Arts Festival in Ipswich.

AN EXHIBITION showcasing the much loved children's character named 'Cecil' and the work of the late illustrator and author Narelle Oliver will be the highlight of this year's Story Arts Festival in Ipswich.

The exhibition will be held in the Ipswich Community Gallery through the month of September.

Festival director Jenny Stubbs said the history of the character 'Cecil', a loveable reptilian looking fellow, was fascinating.

"One of the highlights of the festival is the 'Cecil - Narelle Oliver exhibition'," Ms Stubbs said.

"Cecil is the name of the character who is the star of her latest book which is going to be published later this year.

"Cecil was a little character who was a rough drawing hanging on the wall of her studio.

"Cecil is trying to figure out which book he belongs in and he goes on little adventures trying to work that out, because he can see all these other books in the artist's studio and he doesn't know where he belongs. It turns out that he belongs in the book (Ms Oliver) was writing.

"Narelle passed last year and this will be the first time anyone will have seen a complete retrospective of her art work in the art gallery.

"I think it will attract audiences from all over to come and see it."

Cecil was the basis for the character who appeared in Ms Oliver's popular children's book 'The Very Blue Thingamajig'.


The art works and books of illustrater and author Narelle Oliver will be a highlight of this year's Story Arts Festival.
The art works and books of illustrater and author Narelle Oliver will be a highlight of this year's Story Arts Festival.

Ms Stubbs said Ms Oliver was an award winning author and many of her books had an environmental theme.

The Story Arts Festival website says one of its aims is "to increase an awareness of the value of the arts in relation to writing and illustration and help build and maintain increased audiences for children's literature".

"We plan to inspire young people to buy and read more books and gain an appreciation of the processes involved in writing and illustrating.

"We also aim to enthuse teachers and parents about the value of stories and encourage them to promote literature to young people."

A community development grant of $17, 767 has been provided to partly fund the festival.

Ms Stubbs said the children and adults would be able to enjoy an interactive experience at this year's festival.

"Kids and adults will have instructions on how to download a little app and the app will enable an augmented reality experience which will be a layer on top of the exhibition," she said.

"So as they travel around they will see a little sticker and when they scan it the little character 'Cecil' might come alive and do something.

"It is still all being created.

"We are also working with two schools - Blair State School and Bethany Lutheran Primary School - and they are going to be doing workshops with kids creating their own 'creature'.

"These creatures of the kids and some of Narelle's artwork are going to be mixed together into an animation and beamed up on the steps outside D'Arcy Doyle Place.

"We will have Narelle's artworks, books, lino cuts, tools and paints and all the things she used to create.

"She purchased a special table and we are going to recreate part of her studio in the gallery."

Topics:  ipswich story arts festival whatson

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