About 

An exhibition showcasing artworks created by 45 children's book authors including Axel Scheffler, who have shared their powerful visions of the European Union's shared past and unsure future. 

Background 

The seed of an idea for this exhibition was planted the day after the EU referendum of 23rd June 2016. Award-winning children’s book illustrator Axel Scheffler, who was devastated by the result of the vote, travelled to Germany to take part in a Brexit discussion on the radio. Afterwards, he had dinner with an equally concerned group of people, including Markus Weber, children’s book publisher at Moritz Verlag. Believing that a united Europe was the greatest guarantee of peace and prosperity, they wondered what they could do. Some time later, Weber came up with the idea to ask his illustrators to create a ‘drawing for Europe’. Whether they wanted to draw something about the story of Europe, the European Union or anything else on the subject, was left entirely up to them.

The pictures were first shown during the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2017and afterwards at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Berlin. In November 2017, The Guardian published a feature about the project, and this gave Scheffler’s editor at Scholastic Children’s Books the idea that the exhibition should come to the UK. The Institut français in London – in collaboration with Pulse of Europe, a pan-European citizens’ movement for a united Europe – took up the baton and hosted the exhibition at its premises in April/May 2018. The Drawing (for) Europe exhibition was highly acclaimed by the press and public alike. Some British-based children’s book illustrators were asked to contribute; not surprisingly, many commented visually on Brexit.

Scheffler’s long-term publisher, Pan Macmillan, then decided to create a book – Drawing Europe Together, Forty-five Illustrators, One Europe – and invited even more illustrators to contribute. In addition, Macmillan asked all the artists to write a few words to explain the thoughts behind their drawings. The 45 illustrations were exhibited together for the first time at the launch of the book at Waterstones Piccadilly, London, in November 2018. In partnership with Axel Scheffler, Pan Macmillan and the European Commission, we are now able to tour these illustrations around the UK, bringing these often touching and thought-provoking artworks to a wider audience.