Moomin Museum’s exhibition Tumpkin’s Time features poems by Kirsi Kunnas together with original illustrations

Merry Tumpkin and his endearing friends are the stars of the Moomin Museum’s new temporary exhibition, Tumpkin’s Time. It is based on the beloved nursery rhymes authored by the Finnish poet Kirsi Kunnas (1924–2021), who transports the reader to magical worlds of play and imagination. Originally produced by the Päivälehti Museum, the Moomin Museum presents the exhibition in the author’s hometown, featuring delightful original illustrations.

The nursery rhymes written by Kirsi Kunnas are a national treasure cherished by ever-new generations of readers. Her poetry is laced with brilliant hilarity and frolicking exuberance that delights and comforts the reader or listener. She debuted in 1956 with Tumpkin’s Wonder Tree, and her prolific literary output spans many decades all the way to Tumpkin’s Forest published in 2020.   The exhibition features an experiential adventure designed around Kunnas’ nursery-rhymes by artist Alexander Reichstein. The centrepiece is a fairytale tree with poems inscribed on its leaves, surrounded by animations and audiovisual material presenting the main characters from the nursery rhymes.

The illustrations are inseparable from the text, speaking the same language and providing a fluent accompaniment to the poetry. Over the decades, the nursery rhymes have been illustrated by many artists starting from Maija Karma. Reimagining the beloved poems in new drawings is always a challenge, but the rollicking world created by Kunnas is always open to new interpretations. The Moomin Museum has augmented the existing exhibition with a selection of original illustrations by artists including Julia Vuori and Kristiina Louhi. Their drawings engage in a dialogue with extensive Tumpkin illustrations by Christel Rönns and Pia Westerholm’s cat and dog illustrations, rounded by recent interpretations by Silja-Maria Wihersaari.

Tumpkin’s Time – Poems by Kirsi Kunnas 29.4.2023–7.1.2024 Moomin Museum Observatory



Text: Minna Honkasalo
Photos: Jari Kuusenaho / Tampere Art Museum