Children’s Author Anders Suneson’s Exhibit at ASI in Minneapolis Ending RunOctober 19, 2018
Every year, the American Swedish Institute organizes a 600-square-foot immersive exhibit largely inspired by children’s authors, artists and storytellers. The overall goal of the ASI’s Youth & Family Exhibit Program is to offer a unique artistic experience that engages attendees of all ages, making it ideal for parents to experience with their children.
Swedish author and illustrator Anders Suneson first visited the ASI in 2015 and not long after was invited to exhibit his own works. Suneson’s “Ulla the Baker” book-turned-interactive-exhibit has been captivating thousands of museum attendees since November 2017. It is on display until the end of October.
“It has been fun to see how the kids play within the space and create their own stories,” Suneson said. “I think the combination of sculptures, interactive factors and illustrations stimulates the senses, which is great for children.”
After completing a two-week, on-site artist residency, Suneson transformed ASI’s Family Gallery into an interactive artistic playspace. Wooden sculptures featuring many of the book’s most prominent characters, including Ulla and various animals, stand out in the space. Large-scale illustrations from the book are on display, as are two original illustrations of Suneson working in his studio – giving visitors a sneak peek into his creative life. Adding to the interactive nature of the exhibit is a puppet theatre, where children can dramatize Ulla’s story or even act out a story of their own imagining.
Suneson was trained as an artist at Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Beginning his career primarily as an illustrator, he further explored his sculpting skills after a ski resort approached him to craft some pieces for the children’s ski area. Since then, Suneson has created works for museums, preschools, parks and more.
According to Suneson, captivating and maintaining the attention of children is the biggest challenge authors like him face.
“Writing and creating children’s books is a different, more complex process with much more work,” he said. “Sculpting leaves more to the physical audience to engage with, as they are able to interact by touching, climbing, etc.
“It makes me happy knowing that many visitors have made multiple trips to see ‘Ulla the Baker.’ Bridging multiple generations together to enjoy art can be a challenge, but I think the ASI and I have accomplished that.”