The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island; a year-long celebration of Moomin creator Tove Jansson
Walthamstow Wetlands and the William Morris Gallery will be hosting a a year-long celebration of the Finnish artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001) with an unique collaboration of enchanting indoor exhibition and outdoor trail opening to the public in 18th June 2021 in Walthamstow Wetlands, London. The project is supported by the Embassy of Finland and the Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland.
The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island will draw on the parallels between the island of Klovharun in the Finnish archipelago, where Tove Jansson spent her summers immersed in nature, and the scenery at Walthamstow Wetlands which is Europe’s largest urban wetlands and has eight islands of its own.
Visitors to the Wetlands will be able to enjoy:
- an exhibition about Tove Jansson’s island home and the inspiration she took from nature, featuring beautifully rendered and displayed facsimiles of photographs taken of Jansson on Klovharun, quotes, and her own work including her nature studies and descriptions of birds
- a family trail with an interactive map
- a unique downloadable audio piece from multi-instrumentalist and composer Erland Cooper, which includes field recordings from Klovharun and a new reading of Jansson’s essay ‘The Island’ by her niece Sophia Janssson
The outdoor trail closes on 23rd September but in January 2022 it will be followed by a second exhibition which opens at the William Morris Gallery (date tbc). This landmark exhibition will bring together personal objects, photographs and archival material to tell the story of Jansson’s life and development as an artist through the lens of her deep affinity with nature, which is something that she shared with William Morris. The exhibition will invite visitors to consider Jansson’s most famous creations – the Moomins – as creatures in touch with the environment and connected to nature in a powerful way.
The year-long celebrations are being curated by Alison Williams and Mhairi Muncaster on behalf of the William Morris Gallery.
Alison Williams said: “We are delighted to bring Tove’s island, the inspiration behind the Moomins, all the way from the Baltic Sea to London. Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve is a very special place – it has the same conservation status as the Amazon and the Nile, right here in Walthamstow! These exhibitions will explore how island life, the weather and an ever-changing landscape informed Jansson’s work, which still captures the imaginations of children and adults alike, and share some thoughts on what we can learn from the Moomins when it comes to ecology, conservation and the climate crisis.”
“There are more similarities between Tove’s archipelago and our Wetlands than you might think – from the islands and their rich ecosystems to the fact that Finland and Walthamstow both have a history of pioneering social progress. After a year filled with challenges, we’re looking forward to safely welcoming visitors to a pair of exhibitions that will inspire, delight and offer new ways of looking at the natural world, ” added Mhairi Muncaster.