(with thanks to Matthew Badham): The magical world of the Moomins from Finland has delighted and captivated children and adults alike for the last 65 years. This week (Saturday 23rd October), a new exhibition opens in Bury Art Gallery that will bring this magical world to the town as the first exhibition of a unique cultural partnership between Bury and Tampere in Finland.
It will be the only exhibition in the UK that coincides with the 65th anniversary of the Moomins and opens as all the Moomin stories are reprinted in English and Comet Chase, the latest Moomin movie, launches at the Cannes Film Festival, with a soundtrack by Bjork.
The exhibition seeks to capture the magic of The Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum, which creates the feeling of visiting the Moomin valley itself. Dimly lit with pools of dappled light with the Moomin boat and islands of stepping-stones, this enchanted space will provide the perfect backdrop for these original Moomin illustrations.
Tove Jansson was a prolific illustrator and less well-known for her work produced in newspapers. Depicting the cherished characters of Moominpapa, Moominmama, Moomintroll, Little My, Hemulen and The Groke, her beautiful drawings will be shown alongside a collection of rare examples of Jansson’s illustrations published in Finnish daily newspapers.
The exhibits will appeal to children who are fascinated by tales of the Moomins but also to adults who can appreciate Jansson’s expressive drawings and the darker subtexts of the images and stories.
Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson created the white hippopotamus-looking creatures whose adventures were translated into 34 languages. She wrote and illustrated eight books about these eccentric creatures, the first of which, The Moomins and the Great Flood, was published in 1945.
“Getting the Moomins to come to Bury is a real coup for the town,” said Tony Trehy, Arts and Museums Manager for Bury. “It’s a measure of the international profile of Bury’s Art Gallery that we were able to agree the partnership with the Finns – an arrangement which we hope will bring future benefits to Tampere and Bury.”
• Magical Moominvalley: The Illustrations of Tove Jansson from Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley Collection Finland – 23rd October 2010 to 15th January 2011 Bury Art Gallery, Museum and Archives, Moss Street, Bury BL9 0DR. Opening Times: Tue-Fri 10.00-17.00; Sat 10.00-16.30; Recommended last entry time: 16.45 on Weekdays. Tel: 0161 253 5878 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.bury.gov.uk/MuseumsandGalleries