Shaun Tan: South Side Festival


Rules of Summer


Rules of Summer is an exhibition from Australian artist, writer and film maker Shaun Tan, featuring original paintings made for the picture book of the same title. The exhibition explores the friendship of two young boys as it is challenged by difficult and irrational situations, each one a metaphor for familiar childhood experiences. The story is little more than a list of mysterious rules, ‘Never step on a snail’, ‘Never leave the back door open overnight’ or ‘Never leave a red sock on the clothesline’. As each rule is broken – not always by accident – surprising consequences ensue, and audiences are invited to decide for themselves what is really happening and why. The Rules of Summer touring exhibition is a unique collection of rarely seen original works from Shaun Tan, including working drawings and artist’s notes from this dynamic and enchanting series.

Shaun Tan grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, WA and currently works as an artist and author in Melbourne, VIC. He began since become best known for illustrated books that deal with social and historical subjects through dream-like imagery. The Rabbits, The Red Tree, Tales from Outer Suburbia, Rules of Summer and the acclaimed wordless novel The Arrival have been widely translated and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for animated films including Pixar’s WALL-E and directed the Academy Award-winning short film The Lost Thing. In 2011 he received the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honouring his contribution to International children’s literature.

"My hope is that everyone will feel as free as possible to find their own ‘nostalgia’ in these painted dreams, and perhaps unlock some other real emotion relating to friends, siblings and partners. Objects in a rear-view mirror may be closer than they appear: the same might be said for many works of so-called fiction, where strange and far-away things are not really so strange, and not really so far away". Shaun Tan, 2014."

Image: Shaun Tan, Grasslands (detail) 2012. Courtesy the Artist


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