February 24 - March 2, 2019: Issue 394


Renowned marine expert Valerie Taylor brings the deep sea to MAG&M

Image detail: Valerie Taylor, Ship wreck from 'Melody the mermaid series, watercolour and ink on paper

Manly Art Gallery & Museum is delighted to host an exhibition of book illustrations by artist, author and celebrated marine conservationist Valerie Taylor.

Recognised worldwide primarily for her pioneering work with her late husband Ron Taylor demystifying the world of sharks, Valerie is less known as an illustrator and cartoonist, which was her first career.

In this exhibition, the words and paintings of her children’s book Melody the Mermaid: Adventures in the Kingdoms of the Sea will line the gallery walls and take the viewer on a literary and visual journey through the story.

Valerie Taylor working on Melody the Mermaid

Senior curator Katherine Roberts said Valerie Taylor published the book in 2017 but the idea for it came 25 years ago when diving in the Coral Sea. Her Papua New Guinean crew told her about seeing mermaids in the water where they dived.

“Valerie’s first love was art and she has drawn on her deep knowledge of marine life and conservation to write and illustrate this fascinating and imaginative book.  It features many marine creatures in their natural habitat, such as the Weedy Sea Dragon, which can be found in the waters around Manly.

“Even though the book was written for children, the exhibition has something for people of all ages. Her book is very much about marine education, as only someone of the stature of Valerie Taylor can tell it. It is an excellent insight into the undersea world.

“As a passionate conservationist, Valerie generally believes that we really need to know more about what we are preserving to help us really understand why it is so important to preserve it.”

Exhibition dates: 22 March – 28 April 2019

Exhibition opening: Fri 22 March, 6 – 8pm by Hayley Baillie, businesswoman and friend

Artist in Conversation: Sunday 31 March, 3 - 4pm. Meet Valerie Taylor and hear about her extraordinary life, ‘in conversation’ with Katherine Roberts.

Melody the Mermaid: Family Book reading Sunday 7 April, 10 – 11am Valerie Taylor is recognised around the world as a pioneering ocean explorer, marine conservationist, cinematographer, photographer and author. Less well-known is her first career as an illustrator and cartoonist. For this exhibition, the words and paintings of ‘Melody the Mermaid: Adventures in the Kingdoms of the Sea’ leap onto the gallery walls and take you on a literary and visual journey through the story. Sit, relax and listen to the story of Melody the Mermaid being read aloud in the gallery space, surrounded by the original illustrations. On your way out, borrow a marine or mermaid book from the pop-up library van in the courtyard.

Manly Art Gallery & Museum
West Esplanade Reserve, Manly 
Phone:  02 9976 1421
Email:  artgallery@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au
Website:  Manly Art Gallery & Museum

Image detail: Valerie Taylor, Seahorse from 'Melody the mermaid series’, watercolour and ink on paper