Captivating children and adults alike for over 65 years, the iconic figure of Miffy is featured in a major exhibition at Brisbane’s QUT Art Museum, which brings the work of Dutch illustrator, Dick Bruna, to Australia for the first time in miffy & friends.
The exhibition places Miffy alongside the work of seven of Australia’s most exciting contemporary artists who find the ideas encapsulated in Bruna’s figure of Miffy as inspiration for their own artistic practice.
First created by Bruna (1927-2017) as a bedtime story for his son in 1955, the little white bunny, or nijntje as she is known in Dutch, has evolved from her life as a children’s book character into a globally-recognised and universally loved design icon.
miffy & friends presents original drawings and illustrations loaned from Dick Bruna’s estate, Mercis bv in Amsterdam, to explore his aesthetic influences and, in turn, how he has influenced generations of artists.
While deceptively simple, the character of Miffy is grounded in the ideas of 20th century avant-garde art, reflecting ideas of abstractionism and colour theory. With her pared back details and purity of line, Miffy embodies a universal language of minimalism.
Who would have thought that something as simple as two dots for eyes and a cross for a mouth would hold such cultural sway over generations?
The inclusion of work by Stephen Bird, Sadie Chandler, Nadia Hernández, Carla McRae, Nell, Brian Robinson, and Vipoo Srivilasa, representing some of the biggest talent in contemporary art at the moment, firmly places the exhibition within an Australian context.
Exhibition curator and QUT Art Museum Gallery Director, Vanessa Van Ooyen comments that miffy & friends is a celebration of people coming together to share in the joys of art:
“Miffy perfectly captures the Dutch concept of gezelligheid, which isn’t a word easily translated into English but is about a feeling, of coming together with loved ones and a general ‘togetherness’ that gives people a sense of belonging and mutual understanding,” said Van Ooyen.
Mercis bv’s Marja Kerkhof, who worked with Dick Bruna for 22 years, states: “I think one of the secrets of his work and its universal appeal is the whole idea of family, friends and relationships, which is the basis of his work.”
“He always said, ‘Your childhood is like your luggage, and if that starts well, that’s a real present for the rest of your life.’ I think that is really what you feel.”
The exhibition is sure to delight Miffy fans and instil a love of art in audiences of all ages, making a lasting impression on all who cross her path. QUT Art Museum is honoured to share the timeless simplicity of miffy & friends in Brisbane this summer.
miffy & friends
QUT Art Museum, 2 George Street, Brisbane
Exhibition continues to 14 March 2021
For more information, visit: www.artmuseum.qut.edu.au for details.
Following its exhibition in Brisbane, miffy & friends will travel to Bunjil Place, Narre Warren in 2021.
Image: Dick Bruna, miffy dances – © copyright Mercis bv, 2002