Image: Dub Leffler, “Cover of ‘Sorry Day'”, 2018, watercolour and pencil on paper. © The artist, 2020.

On 28 January, Kluge-Ruhe will open Dub Leffler: Darkish, a selection of watercolors made for illustrations in children’s literature and other related works.

Darkish explores how Indigenous children are represented in children’s literature, and the term “darkish” was used by the adoption agency to describe the artist himself as a child. Historically, Aboriginal children have been stereotyped in children’s literature or excluded altogether, not unlike their adult counterparts in non-Indigenous fiction over the last 200 years.

Leffler’s work expands the image of the Aboriginal child to encompass the diversity of Indigenous Australia, allowing the opportunity for all Aboriginal children to see themselves and their histories reflected in the books that help shape who they become. These delicately drawn and subtly painted works challenge the notion that children’s book illustrations aren’t art in and of themselves, breaking down Eurocentric constructions of what is and is not included in the exclusive category of “fine art.”


SOURCE: Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection.