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In 2017 State Library Victoria and independent art marketplace Redbubble teamed up to create art history.

Together, we challenged artists from across the world to design new work inspired by the Library's vast collection. Thousands of artists remixed and reimagined historic images from three themes: Magic, Weird & wonderful creatures and Botanicals, dating back as far as 1493.

The results are incredible. We selected three winners from almost 2000 entries. These original works will be added to the Library's collection to inspire artists of the future. 

Follow #createarthistory on Instagram to see all of the amazing entries.


Collage of a cartoon girl walking on a map

First prize

Explore by Natasha Sim

'My parents are migrants from Malaysia, who moved to Melbourne to start a family. When I was a kid, my dad would frequently take me to the local library and encourage me to read, so that I would learn how to speak and write English well.

'I was never allowed out much when I was small, but reading books allowed me to learn about the world and travel to different places. I was particularly interested in stories about peculiar creatures encountered by explorers.

'This illustration is a tribute to the explorers who catalogued those peculiar creatures, and to the power of books to take readers to new and strange lands.'

Surrealist collage

Second prize

Victoria by Frank Moth

'We’ll never be alone as long as books make imagination blossom in our Heads.'

Collage of flowers

Third prize

Fantastic Botanical by Paul Summerfield

'These images are from rare books in the Library's collection. The illustrations when combined together make a wonderfully colourful and textural landscape with hidden details.'

Buy the designs

Browse a range of Redbubble products featuring our winning artists’ designs. You can also buy select items at Readings State Library bookshop.


#CreateArtHistory finalists

Out of almost 2000 entries, 12 designs were selected as #CreateArtHistory finalists. A number of these artworks will be added to the State Library collection to honour the creative use of our images and to inspire future artists.