Magabala Books announces winner of 2019 Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award

Published by: Magabala Books | 27-Mar-2019
Australia's leading Indigenous publisher, Magabala Books, is thrilled to announce Charmaine Ledden-Lewis as the 2019 winner of its Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award.
A Bundjalung freelance artist and mother of two boys from Blackheath, NSW, Charmaine Ledden-Lewis will receive $10,000, an illustration mentorship and contract opportunity to illustrate Bruce Pascoe's first children's picture book.

Upon receiving news of her win, Charmaine said "I'm deeply humbled and grateful to be embarking on a venture of learning and collaboration with such a well-respected author as Bruce Pascoe, and for the industry experience and career guidance I will gain with the Magabala publishing team. Mostly, I am delighted to be presented with the opportunity to make my family proud and share this journey with my sons, who love art and books as much as I do."

Entries for the award were judged by celebrated author-illustrators Sally Morgan, Bronwyn Bancroft, Ann James and Magabala Books' Publisher Rachel Bin Salleh. Comments from the judges about Charmaine's work stated that it "showed great interpretation", "incredible use of perspective", "created a strong sense of place" and revealed "enormous potential."

"We're excited to work with Charmaine as her spreads are visually stunning, creating a wow moment for all judges," said Publisher, Rachel Bin Salleh. "We're looking forward to releasing Bruce Pascoe's first ever children's book with her illustrations in 2020."

Impressed by the incredibly high calibre, as well the dramatic increase in entries this year, the judges also elected to award four 'Highly Commended' acknowledgements to Belle Martin, Bobbi-Lee Hille, Kyara Fernando and Veronica Spittles.

Established in 2017 with the generous support of the Kestin Family Foundation, the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award is a national biennial award that identifies new talent in the art of children's picture book illustration.

Sally Morgan said the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award is unique in that it provides a mentorship and opportunity to illustrate a book by a renowned Aboriginal author. "I cannot emphasise enough the enormous importance of mentoring new Aboriginal illustrators and authors," she said.

Echoeing that sentiment, Ann James said the award is a very important initiative. "To be recognised and then mentored to grow their own unique voice and develop as illustrators is such a gift."

Over a 30+ year period, Magabala Books has published more than 250 titles by Indigenous storytellers, authors and illustrators, and built an impressive resume of award-winning titles, including Bruce Pascoe's best-selling work Dark Emu. The Kestin Award expands Magabala Books' unparalleled program of professional development opportunities for Indigenous authors and illustrators.

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