A Swiss ABC
Switzerland is the host country of the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and Swiss illustrators and picture books will be in the spotlight. In the “A Swiss ABC” exhibition, illustrations by 26 artists will be shown: for each letter of the alphabet an illustration and a word that sometimes obviously—and sometimes with a sly wink—refer to distinctive features of Switzerland.
Picture books unite illustrations and the written word in a unique way. The Swiss exhibit in Bologna exemplifies this connection. The leitmotiv is the ABC. The alphabet, with its 26 letters, can also be understood as a reference to the 26 Swiss cantons, which stand for individuality and variety and yet come together to form a colourful and vibrant whole.
The 26 words used in the exhibition, beginning with the letters A to Z, come from all four of the Swiss national languages—Romansh, Italian, French and German—and have been translated into English for the international audience at the Fair. Each of these words was matched with the illustration of an artist who was chosen by a jury of experts. The illustrations selected are typical of the work of the individual illustrators and all come from children’s books that are currently available.
A large catalogue accompanies the ABCH Illustration Exhibition. Here the 26 illustrators and their artistic work are extensively introduced, and three children’s book experts, Laetizia Bolzani, Katia Furter and Hans ten Doornkaat, provide an overview of the history, particularities and specialties of the multifaceted and multilingual landscape of Swiss children’s books. The 26 ABCH illustrations are collected in a supplement to the catalogue.