Growing up in Bermuda, Elizabeth Mulderig was shaped as a child by the abundance of the natural world around her. “Bermuda is a terrific place to be a child,” she says. “Some of my most precious memories are of riding the ferry into town, swimming in the cove, making sandcastles and climbing trees to eat way too many loquats and cherries.”

When she moved to the suburbs of New York at the age of eight, Elizabeth yearned for the Bermuda wonderland she had left behind. Those early memories have helped guide her career as Bermuda’s best-selling children’s author and illustrator. Many are captured in her Tiny the Tree Frog series and now, for the first time, in a solo exhibition at the Bermuda National Gallery.

Bermuda Wonderland, which opens on October 20 2023, depicts Bermuda’s nine parishes through the lens of Alice in Wonderland. Scenes from Lewis Carroll’s much-loved book were brought to life for Elizabeth when, as a young girl, she was cast as a playing card in the Bermuda School of Russian Ballet’s production of Alice. Here, these intermingle with Bermuda flora and fauna in an interactive exhibition aimed at children and children at heart.

The exhibition includes nine original large-scale paintings, each accompanied by a preparatory sketch and painting housed in a playful purpose-built education space where children can learn more about Elizabeth’s process and the relationship between words and pictures. In addition, BNG has collaborated with an augmented reality company to bring the paintings to life. Just as Alice experienced the world in a different way when she followed the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole, visitors can choose their own path through the exhibition. They can enjoy the paintings as they are or activate an AR experience by holding a phone up to ignite an immersive world in which characters wink back at you and the grass rustles in the wind.

“I hope that this does for children who visit the exhibition what my time in Bermuda as a child did for me,” says Elizabeth. “That it allows them to step into Wonderland for a minute or two.”’

Bermuda Wonderland by Elizabeth Mulderig is on display at the Bermuda National Gallery from October 20 through to mid-May. The exhibition, curated by Eve Godet Thomas, is sponsored by the Christian Humann Foundation with support from Mr and Mrs W.H. Williams. Admission is free.