The nature loving white plump trolls sprang off Tove Jansson’s imagination as a response to the tragedies of war. As funny as the Moomin tales may be, at the heart of each one of them lies a humanitarian dimension, reminding us that, as bad as things may appear to be in our everyday life, there is always hope for something better. Besides, the introductory motto of the namesake animated series that was broadcast on Greek television was: “Night and day, the Moomins give us joy.”
On a closer reading of the Moomin stories, one may notice that Jansson made sure to subtly, but at times acerbically, comment on socio-political issues. Case in point: Her book The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945) features Jansson’s paintings of refugees searching for members of their families. And this is only one instance of the multi-layered reading of the comic strip that was distinctly “marketed” as a children’s book.
The kindly trolls made their first appearance in 1945 and, since then, they have been the basis for numerous television series and films, while in Finland there is also a Moomin theme park and a Moomin museum. The Moomin books have been translated into fifty languages.
The exhibition staged in the context of Comicdom Con Athens 2018 includes previously unpublished drawings and sketches from the comic strip Moomin Goes Wild West, which was first released in 1958 and based on a script by Lars Jansson, Tove Jansson’s brother. In this particular comic strip, the Moomins family is visiting the American Wild West in the hopes that it will be just like in the movies. But this is not the case. Everything is an artificial stage set, and even the Indians are actors offering their services in exchange for a handsome fee. These drawings were discovered among the artist’s personal belongings after her death—to the great surprise and joy of Moomins collectors and fans, seeing as it was standard practice at the time of their creation to destroy original strips after the work had been published.
The exhibition aspires to call to mind the beloved Moomin characters among the older ones of us, and introduce them to the younger audiences.
Artistic Director: Lida Tsene
The exhibition “Adventures In Moominvalley” is organized in collaboration with the Embassy of Finland in Athens and Moomin Characters ltd.