Yesterday I visited the symposium and departure lecture of profession dr. Saskia de Bodt. Over the last 9 years she has been the Dutch ‘special professor in Illustration’ at the University of Amsterdam. This position was supported by the Fiep Westendorp Foundation. She wrote several publications among which:
- From Poe tot Pooh; illustration to pay your brushes? An overview of Dutch Childrenbook illustrations from 1850.
- De “imagionists” (De Verbeelders) An overview of one century Dutch Book Illustrations (Nominated for the Golden Tulip Award).
It was an inspiring symposium with interesting questions such as:
- How can we visualize our society in such a way; it clarifies the essence of our society?
- Statement by John Berger (Ways of Seeing): We learn to interpret illustrations before we understand the meaning of words; therefore the image is not the illustration; but it’s the text that illustrates the images.
- Can illustration convey the message of ideals such as: freedom, peace and solidarity? (Like it is done in music?) Images are always related to an ideological tradition.
The ‘departure-speech’ of Saskia was interesting because I found out that one of my most cherished children books was made by Tomi Ungerer; who has his own ‘Tomi Ungeren – illustration museum‘ in Strassbourg. Which might be comparable to the House of Illustration in London.
Last but not leas; a student from Saskia explained the 3 wise lessons she had learned from her and are still just as valid for anyone:
- In principle everything is possible; but you have to organize it yourself.
- When you think it is not possible; you should probably try it anyways.
- You have to be able to estimate your own value.
Last scoop: Saskia received a fresh new publication on Illustration: ” De Verbeelders Verbeeld(t); an intruiging follow-up of her previously mentioned publication. I will be looking forward to read it.
The new Dutch ‘special professor in Illustration’ at the University of Amsterdam is: Emilie Sitzia. Looking forward to see her progress in the academic field of illustration.