Sketches from a Nameless Land: The Art of the Arrival by Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan is from Western Australia. He is best known for his surreal picture books. His books are what our world would look like if they collided with Shaun’s dreams. A couple of these books I have showcased on Magpie That; Rules of Summer & Eric. I plan to do a post soon, showcasing all of his work as I have with David Weisner & Mac Barnett.

The first book I bought by Shaun Tan was The Arrival, recommended by a friend of mine, who is a fan of graphic novels. The Arrival is work of art. It is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images. Reading it feels like looking into both the past and the future.

A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope.

Sketches from a Nameless Land: The Art of the Arrival allows us to look at the creative process of this masterpiece. It is filled with early sketches, sources of inspiration and commentary of the evolution of this massive project.

  • ISBN: 9781444924428
  • Publication date: 02 Oct 2014

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