Illustrationspreis für Shaun Tan: Die Dankesrede

19.09.2014

Heute wurden Shaun Tan für »Die Regeln des Sommers« mit dem Illustrationspreis für Kinder- und Jugendbücher 2014 ausgezeichnet, den das Gemeinschaftswerk der Evangelischen Publizistik zum 12. Mal ausgeschrieben hatte. Leider konnte der Illustrator zur Ehrung im Frankfurter Römer heute nicht persönlich anwesend sein. Er schickte aber eine Videobotschaft, die wir hier nicht vorenthalten möchten!

Zum Mitlesen hier vorab der Text zum Video:

GEP ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, Shaun Tan, 2014

»What a wonderful surprise it is to be receiving this award, especially from an organisation that prides itself on values of compassion, high journalistic standards and curiosity; the jury is no less impressive than the list of recommended titles they have considered, and I’m pleased to simply be in the same company as these thinkers. As a creator of picture books, I’m particularly mindful that the stories laid out on the page are not just for children, but for all readers, and just happen to include children. In fact, children’s literature, especially the picture book, is arguably one of the most inclusive of all art forms, and so find easy translation across borders, oceans and cultural differences: awards such as this certainly help to draw good attention to this medium. Much appreciation goes to my German publisher Aladin, a hardworking and modest group of people dedicated to well-made, highly imaginative books. Much appreciation to my long-time translator, Mr. Eike Schoenfeld, and of course a German readership who seem particularly interested in weird and ambiguous dream-worlds. Having recently illustrated a collection of Grimm’s fairy tales for Philip Pullman with Aladin, I think I understand just a little more where this national spirit might come from! Special thanks to Klaus Humann and Nina Horn, Anna Helbling and Steffen Meier.

When a book wins a prize, the first thing most people want to know is simply what it’s about. That’s tricky because I’m never entirely sure what my stories or images really mean. In fact, that’s how I know if they are any good! There’s a certain thing that most artists are searching for, regardless of medium, a certain kind of transcendence even from their own understanding, a recognition that life in all its minute detail is fundamentally mysterious. This is perhaps nowhere more true than in the relationship between two people, and the closer that relationship becomes, the more intense the mystery. Rules of Summer is based largely on memories of my own childhood, much of it spent with my one older brother in Western Australia. Of course our personal history is far less tumultuous than the one represented in my book – we never really had fights like the two boys in my story – but, as Picasso put it so well, art is the lie that reveals the truth. By exaggerating the undercurrent feelings of my childhood, and making them absurdly disproportionate, I was hoping to get close to a kind of truth, the ‘invisible reality’ that is mentioned by the GEP. Even if my pictures of giant rabbits, tornadoes, urban fish, strange cat-men and half-finished robots are bewildering, the emotions and memories they provoke are quite real: fear, delight, jealousy, forgiveness, and a kind of pervasive uncertainty about the world we are still, as adults, trying to grow up within. What’s around the corner? For all our wisdom and experience, we really don’t know. We have a lot more growing up to do. Even the smallest of little brothers or sisters can tell us this with utmost confidence!

Many thanks once again for this excellent honour. I wish I could be with you in person, but nevertheless look forward to visiting Frankfurt in the future and continuing an excellent friendship with German readers.«