Igor Oleynikov Lecture on “Modern Russian Art and Picture Books”


The International Library of Children’s Literature (ILCL) of the National Diet Library (NDL) invited Mr. Igor Oleynikov and held a lecture meeting entitled “Modern Russian Art and Picture Books with Igor Oleynikov (Winner of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award)” on Oct. 6, 2019. Mr. Oleynikov is a well-known illustrator of children’s books in Russia and in 2018 was the winner of what has been called the Nobel Prize of children’s literature—the Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award.

Prior to Mr. Oleynikov’s lecture, Prof. Mitsuyoshi NUMANO of the University of Tokyo gave an overview of children’s books until the 20th century in Russia, during which he introduced them from four categories: folktale, allegory, literary fairy tale and children’s literature. He also pointed out the function of children’s books to defamiliarize (остранение) society from a naive and radical perspective.

Mr. Oleynikov began his lecture by introducing his career from animator to illustrator. He showed his works while describing his creative process: interpreting stories from his own perspective and working to defy stereotypes by his illustrations.

The lecture was followed by a one on one conversation with Prof. Numano, in which Prof. Numano selected a few of Mr. Oleynikov’s illustrations from Tolstoy and Gogol to discuss its appeal.

In responding to a questionnaire about the lecture, 100% of the respondents expressed overall satisfaction. Comments from the audience included: “It was interesting to hear Mr. Oleynikov’s unique creative process: defying stereotypes, questioning the stories and answering by illustrating,” “His career from animator to illustrator was interesting,” and “Prof. Numano’s explanation about Russian children’s books helped my understanding of Mr. Oleynikov’s lecture.”

(2019.12.20 update)