The Making of I Saw We Saw

The Making of I Saw We Saw

The origin of our latest publication, I Saw We Saw started way back in October 2017, when ILF ambassador Ann James, Ann Haddon from Books Illustrated and some of the ILF team went to work with the deadly students of Nhulunbuy Primary School in North-east Arnhem Land, NT.

Our goal – to produce a beautiful book that captured the students’ lives, language and culture. Armed with a huge range of art materials, the students were soon put to work, testing new techniques and brainstorming ideas for their very own book. From soft pastel to scratch back, and even paper-clay figures, stories started to flow.

As we delved into the kids’ world, the ILF team soon realised that the sea and surrounding land was an absolutely integral part of their lives, and the final idea for the book – a journey around Nhulunbuy – was born.

Starting off by listing creatures and animals in the area, soon the students were researching, writing and sketching, putting all their wonderful ideas down on paper. Their original pictures were soon whisked away to Melbourne, where star designer Lee Burgemeestre worked her magic, putting all the illustrations together and making sure that every single child’s drawing was included.

We returned again to Nhulunbuy in 2018, this time to work on the text. Some new students joined our team, eager and excited, and after much hard work, we ended up with two stunning books, Nha Nhunu Nhangal? and I Saw We Saw.

To celebrate these wonderful books and the amazing work of the students from Nhulunbuy, we launched Nha Nhunu Nhangal? at Garma Festival and I Saw We Saw at Sydney Opera House for Indigenous Literacy Day 2019.

From the very first workshop to the final book launch at Sydney Opera House, this experience is one that the students from Nhulunbuy and the ILF team are unlikely to forget any time soon.

Copies of Nha Nhunu Nhangal? will be gifted to Nhulunbuy community, and I Saw We Saw will be sent out to remote communities across Australia as part of our Book Supply Program for 2020. Get your very own copy of I Saw We Saw here!

  • Posted 16 September, 2019

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