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The Moomins brought to life in Seoul exhibition celebrating 75th anniversary

Art/Culture 17:29 November 12, 2020

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- "But one needs a change sometimes. We take everything too much for granted, including each other."

Perhaps this quote by Moominmamma from the book "Moominpappa at Sea" is one of the most relatable phrases for many of us that are going through an unprecedented pandemic that has triggered social distancing and lockdowns across the globe.

The lovable and philosophical characters created by the late Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson (1914-2001) are set to go on an exhibition in Seoul starting Friday.

This image, provided by Media & Art, shows a poster for the Moomins exhibition set to begin on Nov. 13, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The exhibition, curated in line with the 75th anniversary of the beloved characters, feature Jansson's original sketches that have evolved into books, animations and comic strips over the past decades.

Some 250 pieces of work will be on display, including rough sketches that Jansson worked on as well as pieces that were re-imagined through 3D animation and media art.

The highlight of the exhibition is a room themed around "Moominland Midwinter," one of the books in the Moomins series that was published in 1957. The four walls of the exhibition space are illuminated with a black-and-white animation that shows how Moomintroll unexpectedly wakes up from a winter hibernation and makes new friends.

"While it's an exhibition showing original artwork, we curated it to show the chronology (of Janssen's works) while using various production techniques," Jee Sung-wook, the CEO of Media & Art, the event's organizer, said in a media showcase.

This image, provided by Media & Art on Nov. 12, 2020, shows part of an exhibition highlighting Tove Jansson's book "Moominland Midwinter." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"In the novel section, we used the biggest room in the exhibition space to show 'Moominland Midwinter' through media art, hoping that it would stir up a different sentiment."

The exhibition also includes a room that shows photos and quotes by Jansson, who is still cherished as a cultural icon in Finland and beyond.

Jansson's niece -- Sophia -- voiced excitement about the upcoming exhibition in a video message.

"As you know, the Moomins' stories are based on values that we all feel very strongly about. They're both personal and universal," she said, mentioning how many of the stories are about finding new friends and helping them in difficult times.

"I'd like to wish you a good feeling of hope ... I hope that you can enjoy your life and see the positive side of everything," she added.

Pekka Metso, the Finnish ambassador to South Korea, also voiced hope that the exhibition will show the importance of human values and offer comfort at a bleak time.

"The Moomins is one of Finland's most beloved cultural icons," he said, adding how the stories on themes like human diversity, environmental conservation and empathy toward others make them appealing to not only children but people of all ages.

"In this precarious time, it's important to think like a Moomin and find joy in the small things of life ... I think the Moomins will us help think that there is always, always a sun rising and a better future even when it's storming right now," he said, urging people to embrace the Moomins' spirit.

This image, provided by Media & Art on Nov. 12, 2020, shows part of an exhibition highlighting the Moomins created by Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The exhibition is set to run at Ground Seesaw in the eastern Seoul neighborhood of Seongsu from Nov. 13, 2020, to Nov. 14, 2021.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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