Tauranga Art Gallery is welcoming back Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective.
Dame Lynley Dodd lives in the Bay of Plenty, so it was only natural that the exhibition originated here in 2011. It has been touring since then, but is coming home for the summer.
The exhibition, which opens to the public on Saturday, November 10, will feature works from Dame Lynley's latest book, Early Bird, which have not been exhibited before.
For many, Dame Lynley is a household name, synonymous with that frisky little dog, Hairy Maclary. Based in Tauranga since 1991, and with a career spanning four decades, Dodd has been cautious about allowing her work to be seen in public, due to its precious nature.
This exhibition is not just about Hairy Maclary; it is the story of the artist. Writing and illustrating children's books is a time-consuming and professional occupation. Dodd trained as an artist in the 1960s and still works from her Pyes Pa studio.
Lynley Dodd (nee Weeks) was born in Rotorua in 1941. Her father was a forester, which meant the family lived in very small forestry settlements. In 1959, she began studying at Elam, the University of Auckland's School of Fine Arts. Like other art schools in New Zealand at the time, students spent much time learning to draw from "life". Examples of Dodd's life studies can be seen in the exhibition, including a work she made on her first day.I
n the early 1970s, Eve Sutton, a relative, suggested collaborating on a picture book. The Dodd family cat provided the inspiration, Sutton wrote the text, Dame Lynley did the illustrations and the result was My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes. A first book for both, it is still in print nearly four decades later.
In the mid-1970s, Dodd began to write as well as illustrate. The first of her own picture books was The Nickle Nackle Tree (1976) and she has written and illustrated 30 more in the years since.
In 1979, living in Lower Hutt, Dodd made a small sketch of an unkempt-looking dog. The sketch was penned on a page of a lined shopping pad.
Beneath it she wrote the words:
"One morning at nine,
on his way to the park,
went Hairy Maclary
from Donaldson's Dairy."
Slightly different from the words that would eventually grace the pages of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy (1983), the first in the series, but nevertheless key words in the life of this dog. These words would change Dodd's life.
The Return of Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective runs at Tauranga Art Gallery November 10 to January 13.