Miffy and Friends debuts at QUT Art Museum

Dutch design icon and children’s character celebrates 65th birthday in Brisbane.

Beloved children’s character Miffy features in a major exhibition opening in Brisbane in November. 

QUT Art Museum launched Miffy and Friends on 21 November, bringing the work of Dutch illustrator Dick Bruna to Australia for the first time. 

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 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 and Friends presents original drawings and illustrations loaned from Dick Bruna’s estate, Mercis bv in Amsterdam, to explore his aesthetic influences and his influence on generations of artists

Visitors can pose with life-size Miffy cut-outs and interact through augmented reality, while those who can’t get to Brisbane will be able to take a virtual tour.

Exhibition curator and QUT Art Museum Gallery Director Vanessa Van Ooyen said Miffy and Friends was 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,” Ms Van Ooyen said.

Mercis bv Managing Director Marja Kerkhof said Miffy appealed to children and art lovers alike.

“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,” Ms Kerkhof said. 

“He (Bruna) 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.”

Miffy and Friends features at QUT Art Museum 21 November 2020 – 14 March 2021.