Shaun Tan - "The Gift" - acrylic and oil on paper

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The Gift

Acrylic and oil on paper by Shaun Tan (2010)

Painting size: 36 x 51 cm (14.1" x 20")

Frame size: 55 x 70 cm (21.6" x 27.5")

This work was originally commissioned as a poster for the prestigious Deutscher Jungendliteraturpreis, an international children’s literature award in Germany and had a wide circulation in Europe. I had traveled to Berlin in 2009 at the time when the anniversary of the wall coming down was being celebrated. One interesting fact I learnt was that exotic fruit came to symbolise the freedom of the west from an eastern perspective, something the wall effectively blocked for so many years. My concept was that literacy though good, unrestricted fiction was a kind of ‘exotic fruit’, which various circumstances can make unavailable. Without an endless effort to retrieve those ideas and pass them to children they may never be received and enjoyed at all. -Shaun Tan

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