A new edition of an old favourite – Kusama’s ‘Alice’

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I very often buy ‘kids books’ for myself. Case in point, a new edition of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

As soon as I spied the striking polka-dotted cloth cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, completed with artwork by renowned Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, I knew it would be added to my Alice collection.

Lewis Carroll’s classic has provided artists and illustrators with rich inspiration for more than 100 years (and I’m quite confident that I’m not the only person with multiple copies of the story, each illustrated by someone different). But it’s Yayoi Kusama’s interpretation of Alice that is unquestionably the most captivating I’ve seen.

Since childhood, Kusama has had a rare condition that makes her see spots. She sees the world, both literally and creatively, in a surreal, almost hallucinogenic way. Kusama’s spots happen to sit very well with the hallucinogenic, topsy-turvy element inherent in Alice – Alice sees the world differently and so does Kusama – it’s a perfect match.

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Every page is a visual treat: repeated patterns spread over double pages – spots and stars, and psychedelic whorls; fonts that stretch and shrink; a crocodile in a hat; mysterious and exotic plants; an inviting drink and a slice of watermelon; mushrooms of every colour and size; and spots, spots, spots.

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Short of acquiring a copy of Salvador Dali’s rare Alice, you’ll not find a more beautiful and captivating edition than this.

Find Kusama’s Alice in all good bookstores or online at Book Depository, which delivers free to Australia. Then browse our archives for more Alice in Wonderland love.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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