Set design in Little J and Big Cuz

Australia, 2017-2020

Courtesy Ned Lander Media Pty Ltd


There’s a world of adventure over Little J and Big Cuz’s back fence. Their house is magically located at the doorstep of the desert, bush and coast – environments that represent where the show’s writers are from. And as locations in the first animated show made for Indigenous Australian kids by an Indigenous crew, these environments aren’t just settings for great stories – they reflect the different landscapes of the people the show was made for. To the show’s fans, Little J and Big Cuz live in the same place they do.

They also speak like them. Each season, Indigenous communities could choose an episode to have translated into their traditional language. Naturally, they typically picked episodes set in locations that represent their country.

This work contains First peoples content

Curator Notes

During the development of Little J and Big Cuz, there were many, many decisions to be made about how to represent the lives and worlds of contemporary Indigenous kids. The show’s writers set their episodes around their home Countries and stories. This meant different episodes could be set in saltwater, freshwater, or desert countries. Director Tony Thorne had to work out a way of fitting all these different landscapes into one cohesive show world.

An early idea was to create some sort of magic portal that Nan, Big Cuz, and Little J could travel through to visit these different places. Ultimately, the team decided that as an animated show they had the power to rely on cartoon logic. In the world of the show, these places just happen to be right next to each other.

– Assitant Curator Jim Fishwick

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production company

Ned Lander Media Pty Ltd

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Drawing on influences

Waves of animators have been inspired by the style of previous animators to help tell their own stories.


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Curatorial section

The Story of the Moving Image → Moving Worlds → 02. Set Design → MW-02-C01


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