The year 2020 will mark exactly one hundred years since the birth of Gianni Rodari on 23 October 1920, a fact well worth celebrating. Bologna Children’s Book Fair aims to commemorate this anniversary by remembering the creativity of Italy’s first author to win the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award (in 1970), and one of the most innovative and influential children’s writers of the twentieth century.
Rodari’s works, many of which are still in print today, have been reinterpreted by some truly great illustrators. In fact, following the evolution of this idea, and in continuity with the exhibition Italian Excellence created in 2015 and presented to great acclaim in more than 10 countries, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Emilia-Romagna regional administration and the Italian Cultural Institute of Culture of San Francisco, with the collaboration of the Italian Consulate, are now promoting a new edition.
Italian Excellence: Illustrators for Gianni Rodari represents a sort of timeline of Italian illustration, exhibiting original works by 21 illustrators who are recognised as mainstays of Italian design and illustration, such as Bruno Munari and Emanuele Luzzati, as well as great contemporary artists such as Betrice Alemagna and Olimpia Zagnoli.
The full list includes: Bruno Munari, Emanuele Luzzati, Altan, Beatrice Alemagna, Gaia Stella, Olimpia Zagnoli, Manuel Fior, Alessandro Sanna, Valerio Vitali, Simona Mulazzani, Chiara Armellini, Anna Laura Cantone, Fulvio Testa, Maria Chiara Di Giorgio, Giulia Orecchia, Nicoletta Costa, Federico Maggioni, Francesca Ghermandi, Pia Valentinis, Elenia Beretta and Vittoria Facchini.
The first venue to host the exhibition will be the city of Portland, Oregon, where, following the inauguration on 25 September – involving the Mayor of Bologna Virginio Merola as the event is part of the programme of festivities to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the twinning scheme between Bologna and Portland – the display will remain in situ at the Portland Art Museum until 10 November 2019.
The exhibition will then move on to San Francisco, from December to February 2020, to then return to Italy at the end of March in time for the coming edition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (30 March to 2 April).
The three works by each illustrator will then be brought together in the catalogue published by Einaudi Ragazzi – owner of the publishing rights for works by Rodari – and curated by the Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani/Accademia Drosselmeier, and will be presented at Italian Cultural Institutes that will host the exhibition.
Curated by Giannino Stoppani Cultural Collective, Accademia Drosselmeier.