Skip to main content
state library of queensland

Big Voices

Big Voices

Big Voices

Children’s Art Matters

This exhibition is in the past.
12 September 2020- 8 August 2021
Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4

Children's art is powerful. Through art, children give voice to their knowledge and experience of their world. To have your voice heard is a human right. But, to make art, to tell your own story and to share this with others takes courage. Drawing from the Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Children's Art Archive Big Voices celebrates this courage and creativity of children sharing their stories through art.

The Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Children's Art Archive

This archive is a collection created by Dr Piscitelli, collector and curator of children's art, and advocate for children's cultural citizenship.  

The archive represents over 30 years of working with children on local, regional and international art projects. Exploring children's perceptions and observations of specific areas of their lives, this unique research collection tells stories of childhood across continents, across communities and across time.

Child's drawing of a river
Self Portrait by Kapal Pilot
Dolita Delta Self Portrait
Child's drawing of a bird breaking free from a polluted world
Child's drawing
Child's drawing
Child's drawing
Girl showcasing her dress design
Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM

Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM

In 1986, Dr Piscitelli founded the Children's Art Archive when she began using art to talk with children about their worlds, their futures and their rights.

Since that time, she has systematically collected and documented over 2,000 children's artworks from urban and rural Australia, China and Vietnam.

The Children's Art Archive was donated to State Library in 2005 to continue this commitment to collect and preserve children's works.

Child's artwork of trees with a virbrant colour.

Explore the collection

Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Children's Art Archive, 1986-2016

Explore the collection


Online curator's tour

Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Oral History and Children's Art Archive Digital Story

After the Fridge: Caring for children's artwork

An interview with Eric Stonehouse

Big Voices webinar

Behind the scenes

Summary: Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Oral History and Children's Art Archive Digital Story


The Children’s Picture Diaries methodology aims to collect stories about childhood, as told by children in various formats:  in story, poem, film, drawing, painting or sculpture. The methodology encourages the development of critical and creative thinking, literacy, intercultural understandings, and personal and social capabilities.

This education resource is underpinned by the methodology developed in communities by Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM.

Grade Levels: Early Years
Subject Areas: Visual Art

Children's Picture Diary Methodology Teacher Resource

PDF | 442 KB

PDF · 442 KB

Caring for your collections: Children’s artwork on paper

PDF | 96 KB

PDF · 96 KB

Child's artwork of trees with a virbrant colour.

"Children have the right to share freely with others what they learn, think and feel, by talking, drawing, writing..."

— Convention on the Rights of the Child

Learn more

Share your child's voice

Invite your child to create a painting, poem, sculpture, collage, dance, anything they dream up, and share with us on Instagram with #slqBigVoices.

From the blog

Childhood revisited: cultural exchange through children's art
On 28 September 2018, I went to the State Library of Queensland to meet Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM. We had briefly met once...
Read more
Roy Self Portrait
Universal Children's Day
On 20 November 1989 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child and opened this significant treaty for signatures...
Read more
Shadow Art
The Corner at Home Activities: Shadow Art
Hello and welcome to The Corner at Home Activities. Today’s activity is inspired by the exhibition, Big Voices: Children’s Art Matters...
Read more

You may also like

Student studying at home
Learn from home
State Library offers a wealth of resources for students, teachers and learners of all ages.
Learn more
A man is reading from a book to a child he is holding. A stuffed toy fox is also on his lap.
First 5 Forever
Research shows the first five years last a lifetime and that simple, everyday activities with you help to make these connections strong.
Learn more
A child participating in Jemima Wyman’s Paisley beads  activity, 2014 / Photograph: Katie Bennett.
Children & families
Resources to activate State Library's programs for children and families in your homes and spaces.
Learn more