The Arctic Gems & Comics
The exhibition consists of more than 20 Finnish and foreign designers’ original drawings and over 30 three-dimensional cartoon columns. The exhibition includes, for example, B.Virtane’s office, Viivi and Wagner’s living room and part of Duckburg street view
Once upon a time, Finland was about to become a Kingdom. The attempt was to go far enough for the King to be designed his crown. But History, as it sometimes happens, was to take a new turn, and yet, the crown still exists. At the Kemi Gemstone Gallery, in addition of marveling the original, handsome Crown of the King of Finland, you may also admire the replicas of the Imperial Crown of the Queen of England, among other historical replicas, as well as the fine collection of over three thousand minerals and gemstones from around the world.
”Amazing place, I’ll definitely visit here together with my friends next time!” – says 9-year-old Kiira.
”The best was Scrooge McDuck’s treasure and all those gems.” – says 4-year-old Miska.
”A place where you can draw and design comics, it’s marvellous.” – says 9-year-old Kaisla.
Taxari Travel Agency and Meri-Lapin Matkatoimisto operate in the same building as the exhibitions.
GSM: +358 50 3868563
The Kemi Comics Center has been a cultural association for over 30 years. The Comics Center organizes international comic events annually, produces exhibitions, publishes cartoons and works differently to promote a comic strip. In addition, the Kemi Cartoon Center organizes cartoon-related training, including in the form of courses.
In April 2015, the Kemi Comics Center opened a permanent comics exhibition at the Sauvo House in Kemi. In the spring of 2019, the exhibition was renewed and moved to the same building as the Gemstone Gallery in the inner harbor of Kemi. The exhibition presents both foreign and domestic comics in three-dimensional characters and with original drawings. The revamped exhibition has focused even more on learning how to draw a cartoon. The new exhibition will also feature the extensive comic collection of the Kemi Comic Center, which is available to the public for the first time.
The event has been held since 1981 and became international in 1985. The Arctic Comics Festival started up in 1981, and it became international in 1985. Last event was held in 2016. More than sixty illustrators, critics, and researchers from all over the world have visited the worlds northernmost comics festival: among others, Robert Crumb and Scott McCloud from the USA, José Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo from Argentina, Norio Yamanoi from Japan, Frank Odoi from Kenya and Eddie Campbell from Australia. European illustrators have come from as far away as Iceland, Portugal, Albania, Hungary, and Arkangel to join the festival. Angoulême’s 2002 and 2003 years Grand Prix winners Schuiten and Loisel have visited Kemi as well. In 2003 Moebius/Jean Giraud visited the festival and in 2004 Kemi welcomed French artists Jano and Mezzo. Celebrating the 25th festival in 2006 were English artist David Lloyd, better known for V for Vendetta, and Frederic Boilet and Aurelia Aurita of France.
From the very beginning, a national comics competition – which became Nordic in 1990 – has been an integral part of the comics festival. Almost 5,300 illustrators and scriptwriters have participated the competition so far. The annual amount of participants in the competition is ca. 300.
The most significant ones of all exhibitions at the comics festival have been Crumb’s World1993, Who Would Be Afraid of Donald Duck 1994, Mämmilä 1995, The World of Moebius 2003, The Comics and Music 2004 and Viivi and Wagner 2005. The Kemi art museum had, during three weeks time, 18 248 visitors and the rest of Finland ca. 70 000 visitors at the Mämmilä-exhibition.
In connection with the Comics & Music exhibition, the Arctic Comics Centre arranged a songwriting competition in which dozens of songwriters participated with songs about Finnish comics and the Arctic Comics Festival. A CD compiled of winning songs of the competition was released at the 2003 festival. The winning song by Pentti Korpela about Lempi awarded artist Ari Kutila’s Mustapukuinen mies comic character became somewhat of a local radio hit airing regularly throughout summer 2003. Encouraged by the success of the competition, the Arctic Comics Centre went on to arrange the competition two more times in 2004 and 2005 releasing CDs Viivi and Wagner (2004) and Sarjakuvia piirtelen (2005).
Since 1987, the Arctic Comics Centre have awarded accomplished people and organisations with Lempi-prizes at the comics festival: Lempi Grand Prix, Strip-Lempi, Publication-Lempi and Lempi International. In 2006 the festival’s father, Heikki Porkola, was the first one ever to be awarded with a special Lempi-prize, Lempi Grand Slam. The Comics Festival is arranged by The Arctic Comics Centre in Kemi and supported by Kemi town and Ministry of Education. The Comics Centre does also publishing. They have published ca. 50 works so far. The most outstanding ones are the first Finnish manual How to draw comics! (Keijo Ahlqvist & Ari Kutila, 1987) and The Encyclopedia of Finnish Comic Art (edited by Heikki Jokinen & Kalervo Pulkkinen, 1996). As a first publisher, The Arctic Comics Centre published Kalervo Palsa (Kuolema and Intohimo, 1. edition 1988, 2. edition 2002; French translation La mort et la passion, 1989). The President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, acted as a patron at the 20th anniversary festival 2001. She also visited The Comics Centre in autumn 2002.
In the comics center, there is also a little shop, where you can by albums published by the Kemi Comic Center, local authors’ creations, cartoon figures and gift items.
In addition, various events can be arranged at the cartoon center’s premises according to customer’s wishes.