Visual melancholy in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival

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Abstract

This paper analyses several aspects of Shaun Tan’s visual work The Arrival (2006. Melbourne: Lothian), which has found appreciative audiences among children and adults alike. The Arrival offers a meditative exploration of migration, using a muted colour scheme and landscape, which is simultaneously familiar and surreal to create an imagined city whose inhabitants are marked by some kind of ‘injury’. Drawing on scholarly debates on photography, nostalgia and gestural mimicry, the paper suggests that Tan’s work develops its affective content through a sophisticated range of visual codes and clues. Finally, the paper theorises the notion of ‘the fold’ to discuss how Tan’s representation of origami encapsulates the relation between ‘home’ and the new world. The paper suggests that it is the ability of the text to hold the imagination of readers of all ages that accounts for the widespread success of the text.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-379
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2014

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