An art parade celebrating 60 years of Miffy the bunny goes on display in Miffy’s home country of the Netherlands, and also in Japan, from 1 May 2015. 60 statues measuring 1.8 metres have been decorated by a variety of artists from those countries. In contrast to the usual tight control kept over reproductions of Dick Bruna’s global icon, the artists were given free reign to create their own interpretation of the character.
The resulting collection of eclectic and dynamic statues reflects a wide range of artistic influences, including elements of Dutch culture such as the ‘Royal Delft’ statue by De Koninklijke. More avant garde designs include Wendelien Daan’s photograph-covered Miffy (‘Miffy transformer’), Hans van Bentem’s intimidating ‘Gothic’ bunny and Carli Hermès’ gold ‘Sunshine’ Miffy. Among the 60 artists is Dick Bruna’s daughter, Madelon Bruna.
The influences of the designs run the full spectrum, from Sebastian Masuda’s ‘Colourful Rebellion’ inspired by Harajuku in Tokyo, to Bas Kosters’ ‘Heading towards a suspicious showdown’ inspired by Leslie Charteris’ Saint novels.
Fashion is a key theme within many of the designs, with several of the artists choosing to focus on the attire of their Miffy statue, including a carrot-themed dress from Makoto Oozu, a knitted cardigan from Kesennuma Knitting Co., and a gold charm chain accessory from Studio Job.
The materials used on the statues are varied too, from Makoto Koizumi’s wooden ‘hakoirimusume’ Miffy to Kodue Hibino’s fabric collage bunny (‘piece by peace’).
Artist Wendelien Daan comments: ‘I see Miffy as an abstract. Like a letter or a triangle or a circle. You can do what you like with it, but it’s still a circle. Or, in this case, it’s still Miffy’, and the distinctive shape of the statues stands true to this mantra.
Ever since the books first appeared in Japan in the early 1960s, Miffy has remained hugely popular – her simple silhouette chiming with the country’s love of minimalism. Several of the artists have chosen to explore this minimalist theme including Rob Scholte with his ying & yang-style statue entitled ‘Grijs’, Kenjiro Sano with his ghost-esque Miffy, aptly named ‘Het spook nijntje’, Atsuki Kikuchi with his ‘Spatial Miffy’ featuring bold primary shapes & colours, and finally Richard Hutten with his simple, one-eared ‘nijntje’.
On display until 30 September, 45 statues can be seen in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague. 15 will accompany a travelling exhibition in Japan. The statues will be auctioned in October in support of UNICEF.