Celebrating the Centenary of Tove Jansson

Saturday 9th August marks 100 years since the birth of the much-loved Finnish author and artist, Tove Jansson, and to celebrate the anniversary, Lotus UK takes a look back on Tove’s life in Finland and the Tove100-themed events going on around Finland and the UK.

Tove is best known as the creator of the much loved and unique Moomin characters, written in and inspired by the aftermath of the Second World War. The young Tove turned her back on the depression and negativity caused by the war and created the Moomins; a family of characters who lived a carefree and bohemian life in Finland’s forests. The books became publishing sensations and went on to spawn global television shows, movies, a theme park in Naantali in the west of Finland and numerous retail outlets around the world. 

In addition to the success of the Moomins, Tove was also a renowned graphic artist and novelist. Her other works included illustrations, oil paintings, comic strips as well as novels and short story collections. Bestseller ‘The Summer Book’ is perhaps her other most-famed work, which highlights Tove’s true love for her native country. 

In celebration of the centenary of Tove Jansson, a series of events is taking place throughout the year, portraying her life and art from different perspectives. The three key destinations for these Tove-themed celebrations in Finland include Helsinki and Porvoo where she took inspiration for her work, as well as the town of Pellinki where Tove spent her summers. 

The events include the Tove Jansson exhibition at Ateneum, Finland’s National Gallery in Helsinki, which brings Tove’s work together under one roof showcasing her changing styles over the years. The exhibition runs until 7th September 2014 before travelling to Japan for a five art museum tour.

Just 50km east of Helsinki, in the coastal town of Porvoo, the Porvoo Art Factory is hosting the ‘Tove and the Archipelago’ exhibition until 30th August, illustrating how the archipelago of eastern Uusimaa in the south of Finland, where Tove spent many summers, provided a never-ending source of inspiration for the artist. 

Meanwhile, London events include ‘Mooninsummer Madness’ which is showing at Polka Theatre in Wimbledon until 16th August. The ICA in London have displayed original unseen photographs and early editions of her illustrated books at the ‘Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago' exhibition which will run until 24th August. The weekend of the anniversary, on the 9th and 10th August, Covent Garden Piazza hosts the ‘Moomin Summer Madness: A Birthday Party’ event. Participants include award winning author Philip Ardagh who will be reading extracts from the Moomin books, and Benny Törnroos, known for singing the Moomin theme song, who will be accompanied by Moomin characters to celebrate this anniversary. 

Further events will continue to take place over the year to mark the centenary of this much loved artist and author.


Images from left to right:

1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua 
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil