Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan: The Arrival Beitrag: Katja Schönfelder (PDF Treffen Adelaide, 22.5.08)

(from: Picture Books
Shaun Tan was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Shaun began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small-press magazines as a teenager, and has since then he has received numerous awards for his picture books.

His books
They are best described as ‘picture books for older readers’ rather than young children, as they deal with relatively complex visual styles and themes, including colonial imperialism, social apathy, the nature of memory and depression.

The Arrival

The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. 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.

Comments on The Arrival ( by Shaun Tan, shortened)

The following is an extract from an article written for Viewpoint Magazine, describing some of the ideas and process behind this book.
…a story about somebody leaving their home to find a new life in an unseen country, where even the most basic details of ordinary life are strange, confronting or confusing – not to mention beyond the grasp of language.
…It occurred to me that photo albums are really just another kind of picture book that everybody makes and reads, a series of chronological images illustrating the story of someone’s life.
…There is no guidance as to how the images might be interpreted, and we must ourselves search for meaning and seek familiarity in a world where such things are either scarce or concealed.
…Other images I collected depicted street scenes in European, Asian and Middle-Eastern cities, old-fashioned vehicles, random plants and animals, shopfront signs and posters, apartment interiors, photos of people working, eating, talking and playing, all of them chosen as much for their ordinariness as their possible strangeness.
…And even then it is open to the individual reader to decide whether this might be political, economic, personal or something else, depending on what ideas or feelings the picture may inspire.
...One of the great powers of storytelling is that invites us to walk in other people’s shoes for a while, but perhaps even more importantly, it invites us to contemplate our own shoes also.

Möglichkeiten für Sprechanlässe :
Es gibt einige Bilder im Internet oder man kann sich das Buch auch aus der Bibliothek ausleihen.

  • Gesichter (Stammbaum – Name, Alter, Herkunft, Familienbeziehungen und –geschichten, Gefühlsausdrücke)
  • Auswahl an Fantasiegestalten (Titelbild: Was ist das? Eine Mautze, die sprechen kann?)
  • Auswahl einzelner Bilder (einfache Bildbeschreibung>>Interpretation)
  • Auswahl von Kapiteln (einfache Bildbeschreibung>>Interpretation)
  • Szenisches Darstellen
  • Zerschneiden der ursprünglichen Abfolge (Wiederherstellen oder neue Geschichte?)

  • Thematisierung “Immigration” (Material Multiplikatoren)
  • Reisen: typische Situationen
  • Mitbringen eigener Foto(s)-/serien und Bearbeiten im Unterricht (Hinweis Andrew Ferguson: Photos in the classroom)