The Lynley Dodd Story

National Exhibition Register

  • Installation image at the State Library of WA, Perth, 2015.
    Dame Lynley Dodd Installation image at the State Library of WA, Perth, 2015.

About the exhibition

Dame Lynley Dodd (b.1946) is a writer and illustrator with an international following. She has sold more books than any other New Zealand author and her books have been translated into several languages. Dame Lynley lives in Tauranga, a city in the North Island of New Zealand. With over 600 individual works that make up her many books, Dame Lynley’s work had never been exhibited until 2011. She was not keen for her ‘babies’, as she calls them, to leave town. A retrospective was curated and due to its popularity it toured New Zealand and Australia where tens of thousands of visitors saw her original drawings and paintings.

In 2015 a new exhibition, The Lynley Dodd Story, was curated especially for an Australian venue – the State Library of Western Australia in conjunction with the Awesome Festival for Bright Young Things. It was a huge success and visitors included the Duchess of Cornwall. The Lynley Dodd Story tells both Dame Lynley’s story of becoming a picture book writer and illustrator but is also about the process of how books come about and are made. Divided into 13 sections, each one named after one of her characters; themes such as colour, rhyme, line and sound, are explored. Since its inaugural showing, The Lynley Dodd Story, has also been exhibited at Upper Hutt, New Zealand and in December 2017 will be hosted by Redcliffe Art Gallery, Queensland.

Each section has a text panel containing a couple of paragraphs of information about the ideas mentioned above. The links between text and image attracted many schools to visit the exhibition (at a teachers only session hosted in Perth 32 teachers came along to see how they might use the exhibition with the school curriculum, of those 32 only one had ever previously taken a class to see an exhibition).

The list of characters and sections are as follows:

  • Arabella Slapcabbage*
  • A Cat (My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes)
  • A dog (A dog in the manger)
  • Hairy Maclary
  • A Dragon in a Wagon (Susie Fogg is the protagonist in this book)
  • Slink Malinki
  • Find me a Tiger
  • Scarface Claw
  • Schnitzel von Krum
  • Sam Jam Balu (The Other Ark)
  • Zachary Quack
  • The Dudgeon
  • Dame Lynley Dodd

 *Arabella Slapcabbage was the nickname Lynley’s dad called her as a girl.  This will be the intro panel – beginnings, education, etc.

All the works are original with the majority being watercolour and gouache on paper. The works come matted, but not framed, in a crate measuring 1200 x 900 x 500 mm, and built to international freight standards.

The exhibition can take up to 41 linear metres however it fit into a smaller area if necessary with some double hanging. All works have to be glazed and it is suggested they are hung slightly lower for a younger audience. There is also some ephemera – small books/loose pieces of working papers – that need to be displayed in a locked case. There are 55 works.

Digital files for sectional panels and labels provided. Media assistance provided. It is suggested that a set of books is permanently put on display (and tied down!) for the audience to read while viewing the exhibition.

A photo booth can work well if space permits. This is a good point of engagement for staff/volunteers with audience and hopefully stops people taking photos of the actual images as that is prohibited.

Though Dame Lynley’s books are for children it is always surprising to see the level of adult interest – and not just from the adults accompanying their children – given there is now a couple of generations of people who have grown up with her books. There is also much interest from writers/illustrators or those wanting to know more about the process.

About the curator: Penelope Jackson is a freelance curator and writer. She holds an M.Phil (University of Queensland) in Art History and an MA (Hons) in Art History (University of Auckland). The author of Edward Bullmore: A Surrealist Odyssey (2008) and The Brown Years: Nigel Brown (2009), she has contributed to The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and several journals including Art New Zealand, Art Monthly Australia, Studies in Travel Writing, Journal of Art Crime and Katherine Mansfield Studies. Jackson has also contributed essays to Myriorama/Julia Morison (2008) and Kermadec: Nine Artists Explore the South Pacific (2011). Her interest areas range from researching and documenting the history of art crime in New Zealand to the portraiture of Katherine Mansfield. The exhibition, Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective, curated by Jackson was hosted by nine venues in New Zealand and six in Australia. She co-authored the book, Corrugations: the art of Jeff Thomson, that accompanied the exhibition of the same name that she curated, sold out and the exhibition won the 2013 Exhibition of the Year under $20K Museums Aotearoa. Jackson was the Curator and Director for 11 years at Tauranga Art Gallery. More recently she has carried out work at Waikato Museum as well as curating exhibitions both for venues in New Zealand and Australia. She has given several presentations about art crime, including at the 2014 and the 2015 Association for Research into Crimes against Art conferences in Amelia, Umbria, Italy. Her chapter, Legacy and Longevity: protecting the past for the future, appeared in Art Crime and its Prevention (Lund Humphries 2016). A Trustee of the NZ Art Crime Research Trust, her book Art Thieves, Fakers and Fraudsters: The New Zealand Story (Awa Press) was published in 2016. Her most recent exhibition, The Life and Times of Scarface Claw, was exhibited in Perth in late 2017.

Artists and Curator

Penelope Jackson

Dame Lynley Dodd

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/04/2018 - 01/01/2020
Exhibition size
Under 50 sq or running metres
Originating state
Contact to discuss
Accompanying materials available
Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Labels, Public Program Opportunities
Other materials
Public Programme The Lynley Dodd Story can include various associated public programme activities. They are (but not exhaustive): • Curator’s tour (as well as staff/volunteer training provided) • Q & A with Curator and Dame Lynley (these can be targeted at specific audiences such as educators, writers/illustrators, general public, etc) • Book signings • Dress up competitions – come as your favourite character • Dog walks • Story telling (best to use professional story tellers) • Masterclasses for writers/illustrators. Dame Lynley Dodd is very happy (and very good at it) to do Q & A sessions that are designed for specific audiences (e.g. educators, writers, general). A masterclass is also a possibility for a more boutique/intimate experience for emerging writers and illustrators. The possibilities are endless (and don’t have to cost a fortune). The exhibition works well for school groups and has strong links with both visual arts and literacy. Other opportunities: • Media release information is provided and Dame Lynley and the Curator are both happy to give interviews ahead of the exhibition or during it. • Dame Lynley will sign books and venues in the past have sold out of books early on. Books can be purchased through Penguin Random House. • Sponsors function – if there are specific sponsors then often they like to meet Dame Lynley and she is more than happy to do this. • Special gatherings (for example, the AWESOME Mums who are ambassadors had a private tour and then met with Dame Lynley for afternoon tea and a question time – with their children). • Merchandising – books, jigsaws, fridge magnets, cards, tote bags, etc. There are many opportunities to sell merchandise to help offset costs.
Primary contact
Penelope Jackson
Freelance art historian and curator.
0064 27 2916095