One of the most anticipated events at every Bologna Children’s Book Fair is The Illustrators Exhibition. An annual event since 1967, this exhibition showcases the latest trends in illustration and promotes a wealth of talented artists from around the world, including new and emerging illustrators. Becoming a winner or a finalist in this prestigious exhibition comes with many rewards and benefits which I have expanded on in this post.
In 2022 as many as 3,873 artists from 92 countries and territories (2021: 3,235 participants from 68 countries) have submitted their works for the 56th instalment of The Illustrators Exhibition. This number of submissions was a record in all history of the Bologna Book Fair’s Exhibition!
This year the international Jury of accomplished artists, illustrators and children’s book publishing professionals has shortlisted 318 finalists and 78 illustrations by artists from 29 countries and territories worldwide. With just 2% of submissions making it to the winners’ list this is one of the most competitive processes in its field.
Check out all 2022 winners and finalists of The Illustrators Exhibition here; this digital exhibition won’t be there for much longer so catch it while you can before it’s taken offline to give way to the next year’s instalment. Below, you’ll find a sample of my 2022 favourites from the winners and finalists cohorts (I often find work amongst the ‘finalists’ that I would much rather see as ‘winners’). It is a subjective selection of the artworks that grabbed my attention. Some transported me in time and space, provoking a moment of nostalgia. Others made me smile or sent me to Google to investigate the depicted subject or the respective artist’s other work. My favourite winning entries in The Illustrators Exhibition of 2021 can be found here.
According to one of the Jury members, an accomplished French artist Barroux, it is “Harmony” that first catches his eye when judging the composition, technique or innovativeness of an illustration. “It’s like music: if the elements don’t combine well, you can feel it right away”, he said. Indulge in the diversity of ‘harmonies’ from every corner of the world in the works presented below. I would love to hear from you in the comments as to your top three!
In addition to the annual Illustrators Exhibition, another major annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair event is the most revered award in the industry, the Bologna Ragazzi Award for illustrated children’s books. Check out my other posts featuring the past winning or honourable mention books of the Bologna Ragazzi Award here.
Natalia Bragaru, from Sydney, is a genuine expert when it comes to children's books. She authors the blog that tells the stories about illustrators, authors and books - both classic favourites in Russian as well as Australian ones. As well as helping busy parents find quality reads for children, Natalia shares her eclectic mix of illustrated books with fellow bibliophiles.