This blog features the incredible artists profiles behind the World Languages Lilliput Libraries project. We hope you can make it to our World Languages Lilliput Libraries Launch Day on Saturday 4 March. If you'd like to read more about this great initiative, head to this blog.
Adeline Toso (Adi) – French
Hi! I am Adeline, aka Adi, I am a French illustrator based in Queenstown.
I studied fine art, then graphic design and worked in that field for several years back in France. When I arrived in New Zealand, I was looking for new adventures, even in my trade, so I started working in restaurants, kitchen side, and loved it. But the creation, illustration, painting, stayed strongly present in my everyday life, as it is a vital part of who I am.
When Natasya and Jess advertised they were looking for migrant artists to participate in the Lilliput Libraries project I volunteered straight away.
I arrived in New Zealand seven years ago, surrounded by a language and a culture I wasn't familiar with and reading books in French helped me keep a little piece of home with me and was really comforting in periods of stress. It was that one moment in my day that I could relax and let go of all expectations. So YES! Lilliput Libraries filled with books of different languages, from all over the world, sounded like an amazing idea and I would have loved to have it available when I first arrived in Queenstown!
The thing I love the most about books is that they can transport you by just using your mind. I remember stories I read as a child, then teenager and now adult, they all left a mark and have a precious place inside my head. That's why when Kasia and I partnered up for our European Lilliput Library, we both agreed we would go down the mythical creatures and characters of stories to cover it. Colour, fantasy, imagination, specific countries myths, altogether!
Hope everyone will recognise something in that library and will enjoy the books it will contain!
I run my own business as an illustrator/designer under the name of "French Pickle Design'', not as much as I would like since life is so busy, but I regularly am at the Remarkables Market on Saturdays from 9am till 2pm and am quite present on Instagram, where I give all the details about when and where to find me! Always keen for new projects to work on too so don't hesitate to message me!
Facebook: French Pickle Design
Eric Lim - Malaysian
My name is Eric, and I am originally from Malaysia and am now a Queenstown resident.
I grew up in a batik fabrics family where mum was a tailor and had a lot of fabrics which focused on Batik and a lot of sewing machines in the tiny house (at least nine types of sewing machines, from overlock to buttonhole and button stitching machines).
Batik is a traditional Indonesian art form that creates patterns using wax resist techniques. The wax is applied to the cloth and then heated until the wax melts away, leaving behind the patterned design. In this project, Batik's motives inspire my work. Despite the fabric, I have chosen, mimicked and replicated the block batik print and transformed them into the Lilliput panel. I hope you get the feel of our creation and enjoy the non-fabric batik appearance.
Esdira Aijalida – Malaysian
My name is Esdira from Malaysia. I have been living in New Zealand for 8 years. I’m an outdoor person and my passion is in community work. I believe that meeting and connecting with people will gain knowledge of cultures, history and their journey of life stories will help me to get a better understanding and respect their uniqueness. I also love painting because it blows me away into a calm and peaceful world. Another great way to practice mindfulness moments to balance back the daily routine besides outdoor activities.
I’m honored to be part of this amazing initiative project, “Lilliput Library” for the World languages Project. A huge thank you and congratulations to the Frankton Library team that have gone all out in making this happen. I had so much fun meeting talented artists from many different backgrounds. This project helps me to connect with the community, make new friends and learn about the local and international cultures. I’m part of the Middle East and Africa region team. The theme for the Middle East and Africa we chose are bold and colorful colors that show the richness of their cultures. Some landmarks like the Mosque, Arabic letters, Pyramids, and deserts are used to represent the Middle East as an Islamic country and the historical side of their region. As for Africa, desert, safari animals and African lady are the symbols representing their region.
I’m a social activist and currently very active with MyFundAction as their International Office Manager, a registered charitable trust that focuses on youth development globally. Our center MYDC (MyFundAction Youth Development Centre) operates in Frankton, Queenstown with Muslim friendly facilities and Halal Café that serves authentic Malaysian cuisines known as The Komunal Cafe available available for the local & International communities. The focus of MYDC is for the development of local and international youth and community, getting exposure to diverse cultures with an Islamic value. We are very active in social media, especially MyFundAction on Instagram and Facebook (this covers the Australia & New Zealand branch) and The Komunal Cafe (Halal Café) on Instagram and Facebook.
Katarzyna Hebda (Kasia) – Polish
My name is Kasia Hebda and I come from Zakopane, Poland. I moved to Queenstown in 2019. I’m a professional fine art conservator, but I’ve been working in graphic design and illustration for a few years now.
I was invited to take part in the Liliput Libraries project to represent European countries along with Adeline (@french.pickle). I also created a mural for the Frankton Library that was decorated by children at the Lilliput Library event at Mitre 10 and will be displayed at the library soon.
I am an avid reader myself so my idea for the cabinet was to show the essence of what rich European culture has to offer with mythical creatures and characters from folk tales and literature. Me and Adi added different characters, all of them suspended in space between stars and planets.
On my part of the cabinet you can see a unicorn, pegasus, kelpie as well as Dalecarlian horse. There is also less known Zaratan – a grandiose sea turtle, and a tiny fairy. I also illustrated a Polish classic – Sir Twardowski, who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for special powers, but then tried to escape from the deal and ended up on the moon. A story worth reading.
We also depicted what we consider the crucial part of any culture – food! I illustrated my personal favourites: Polish dumpling (aka pierog), pizza, strudel, waffles, cheese, Kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and the queen of all beverages – tea. Yum!
I recently started my own business in Queenstown called Kasia Hebda Studio. You can contact me via my website at kasiahebda.com. You can also find me on Instagram or Facebook where I share my art. I create murals, paintings and illustrations, my passion is interior decor and I have a few commercial and residential projects on my account both from Poland and New Zealand.
Considering my background in art conservation I decided to share my knowledge about art and art technology by organizing workshops. Last year I started running my own life drawing course with Queenstown Arts Society at Te Atamira. This year I want to launch my full watercolour course starting from total basics, teaching all techniques to master this rewarding, but difficult medium.
Lucas Rodriguez (Luca) – Uruguay
My name is Luca. I am an Architect who graduated from the University of the Republic of Uruguay, independent musician from a very young age and self-taught plastic artist. In 2014, I finished my studies and graduated as an architect at the public university of Uruguay. In this period, I simultaneously begun to dedicate my whole time to my deepest passions, music, art and architecture.
I currently reside in Wanaka, New Zealand and work as an architect for the company Minimal Design. My boss, who is a friend, opened Minimal Gallery in 2020, where we work together with very interesting concepts that involve recycled materials in combination with my paintings.
I spend the remaining of my time painting, drawing and creating music while pulling inspiration from the people that surround me. I believe my style fits with “Art brut” or “Raw art”.
I was involved in the South America and Middle East libraries.
Gallery on Wanaka : 58 McDougall Street, Wānaka 9305
Virtual Gallery NZ: https://minimalgallery.nz/
Virtual Gallery Germany: Parartgon
Virtual Gallery Japon: Tricerainc
Meg Hirata – Japanese
Hi I'm Meg and I was born in Osaka Japan. I’m a singer, music arranger (not quite composer yet), animal whisperer, portrait artist, love to bike, bake, sew, read, laugh, paint and draw, love people, nature and food.
This project sounded like fun and I appreciated the meeting with other cultures' artists and getting to know them.
I’m a freelance artist. I mainly do portrait art but I do acrylic wall art paints, murals, illustrations, teach basic art(painting, drawing, creating).
Facebook : Meg’s Portrait Art
Rebecca Koe – Malaysian
Ni Hao! Apa Khabar! I am Rebecca, originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. New Zealand has been home for the last 22 years and I was an Early Childhood Teacher by profession many moons ago.
I was blessed with this opportunity to paint the Liliput libraries when Natasya reached out asking if I would be keen to volunteer my time.
The libraries I have helped paint are Central Asia and South East Asia/Pacific Islands.
Along with the wonderful and patient AJ and Ika, the inspiration behind the Central Asia paintings were based on researching the countries in the region (Mongolia, Nepal, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, India, Pakistan etc) and cherry picking the many motifs that stood out for each country.
I could see how the main religions of Islam and Hinduism played a big role influencing the style of art created.
These motifs were weaved into my painting as I worked towards a sleek clean cut representation of these countries whilst AJ and Ika created fine complex work of art, ravelling and entangling a mixture of patterns on to the other panels.
For the Central Asia front panel, the decision to paint local fruits from the region came from an epiphany where I thought people could have a ponder with regard to what these exotic fruits are and where they might originate from. At the top of the Central Asia front panel, there are three inscriptions:
The first is in Mongolian that says, " Union is the source of success, unity leads to success."
The second is in Ukranian that says, "If you are willing to ask, you can find a way."
The final inscription is in Arabic that says, "Unity and Love."
These inscriptions were added to reflect the coming together of our community to provide, create and uphold our current and future relationships.
The inspiration behind the South East Asian/Pacific Island paintings was a collaboration with the skilled and extraordinary yet so humble, Ika and Eric.
Together we brainstormed how to incorporate as many countries as we could onto the panels, noticing similarities in motifs between the nations too.
I helped paint what I could, give me geometric straight lines any day!
Ika brought out images and motifs from different countries as well as all her batik sarongs to help us visualise the patterns we wanted to portray and together with Eric, they creatively brought to life the most amazing intricate and detailed layered representation of our thoughts and feelings onto the panels.
It has been an astounding experience meeting these wonderful artists in the community.
I was able to learn numerous painting techniques and styles from them as well as form new friendships.
I am very thankful to have been able to be a part of this project. Terima kasih. Xie Xie.
Rona Jia – Chinese
“Illustrator, Designer, Day Dreamer “ are three words given by Rona Jia to describe herself. The extraordinary illustrator, who draw the Chinese/Japanese Lilliput Library with the red dragon, lived in Queenstown for four years and she said it is an honor to be part of this project and met lots of local artists. Engaged in drawing for over 15 years, Rona has created lots of marvelous works that convey attitudes and emotions. They also epitomize whimsical beauty.
Born in a small town near Urumqi, China, Rona finished her bachelor’s degree in Hong Kong Baptist University and master’s degree in the University of the Arts London Central Saint Martins. Since then she worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, which is in her words the best decision ever. She devotes most of her time and enthusiasm to exploring inspirations, thinking and painting. Now her design works enjoy a good reputation among her clients, and she always hold some painting workshop in Queenstown.
Rona has a special interest in portraying dragon. Her quirky sketches of dragons are lively and vivid, reflecting the painter’s humorous artistic style meticulous observation capability. The dragon painted on Lilliput Library, named Jojo. Jojo is an adventurous and extroverted dragon, she loves reading, making friends with people from all over the world, and at night she likes to sleep with books. “I imagine how they would live if they really existed. Through drawing, I deliver my imagination and good wishes for them.”
Rona regards painting as the way she pursues happiness and love in life. “I hope more people will favor my design and art works and be encouraged by them to treasure life. With eyes to discover, a heart to feel, and books to read, I believe that everyone has access to an amazing and whimsical world in their mind,” said Rona.
Art Works Portfolio: https://ronajia.wixsite.com/portfolio2022
Instagram and graphic design enquiry: ronadesignworks
Victoria Bálsamo - Uruguay
I’m Victoria Bálsamo originally from Uruguay. I've been living in Queenstown for 4 years and is so beautiful to see how the community is growing. I love art in general so it was such a pleasure to be part of this project, creating the Latin Library with Lucca, from Uruguay and JP from Brasil. I'm a dancer, I've been dancing since I was a child and what I love the most is Pole Dancing and Femme Style with heels.