The Assembled Mother Goose

Mary Li

See it On Campus: Level 2

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Full book available to read at: Illustrator's Book Cave & Library Reading Room


Collage is a form of art ranging from avant-garde movements to crafting hobbies to children’s picture books, and more. Inspired by the duality of seriousness behind the simplistic front of nursery rhymes and fairytales, I wanted to explore using collage as a medium to compose information into visuals. The Assembled Mother Goose is a research project that includes illustrations and writings to give background of selected nursery rhymes.

A collaged goose that has rabbit ears, blue bird wings, rat tail, and wearing a patterned scarf and boots

My melodies will never die
While nurses sing
And babies cry

— “Hear What Ma’am Goose says”, The Only True Mother Goose Rhymes, 1833


Cover of "The Assembled Mother Goose". A goose wearing a patterned head scarf stands in the middle of the cover, head peaking in front of a frame that has the title written on there. Three little mice are standing on the bottom part of the frame.


Illustration of Lizzie Borden. Lizzie is wearing a black hat and dress, handcuffed, holding an bloodied axe, standing in front of a dark green wall, with yellow tapes saying "keep out" in front. Text on her hat says "not guilty"; a map is on her dress showing the location of the crime scene, with the pin upside down, like a blood drop. There are newspaper cutouts and photos on the wall, featuring the trail, crime scenes, and photos of Lizzie's parents with their faces smudged. Writings on photos include: House: "such unhappy home", body of Abby: "Not mom", body of Andrew: "Dad".
Illustration of "The Untidy Man." A silhouette of a person wearing soldier uniform is lying on the bed. A head hides under the bed on the wooden floor. Legs and arms of Robert Graves frame the image, dripping blood. Scenes of war and graves are overlayed in the blood spots. Missals and planes are seen in the sky outside of a small window.
Illustration of "My Mother, She Killed Me." The image is divided in half. The top half features a big juniper tree with silhouette of a man and woman sitting at a table eating stew in front of it. There is a fireplace on their left side and a chest on the right side. Photo cutout of two hands reach down to the bottom half, showing roots of the tree and a cartoonish skeleton in front. A red apple lies beside the bones with smoke coming out from it, reaching back to the top of the image to bring out a blue bird flying in front of the tree.

Illustration of "Eight Bald-Heads." The bald heads have rabbit ears attached to their heads like a hair band. The image is divided into three layers. On the top layer, one rabbit faces backwards to the audience, running away to the town, the other three are standing around a hole, one looks distressed, one bends down holding a bowl, and one is holding a shovel. The middle layer lies a giant rabbit in a blanket, with a runny nose and teary eye, as if he is lying in a coffin. In the bottom layer, a rabbit holds the frame of the bed. Two rabbits stand in the foreground, facing the audience, one is crying with the other comforting him.


Read the full book to learn more about the poems @ THE SHOW 2024:

Photo of the three framed pieces hanging on the wall with the book displayed in front at the show.
  • The Show 2nd floor
  • Illustrator’s Book Cave
  • Library Reading Room

Mary Li

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Mary is a Chinese Canadian illustrator. Born in China and grew up in Canada, she studied abroad in the United States, travelled to Japan, and finally came back to Vancouver to finish her BFA. With an obsession for cute images and dark themes, she also loves to create narratives and to collaborate with others to make media that combines visuals with music.

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