The Darkness and Dreams of Peter Sis

Nerima Art Museum



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Peter Sis (b. 1949), a leading American picture book author from Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), has produced more than 30 picture books since 1987. Many of Sis’s work has been translated into Japanese, and every picture book lover’s bookshelf is likely to contain at least one of his works. In particular, the following four works are the best-known representative works of Sis.

Three Golden Keys: The Magic of Prague,” published in Japan in 1994 and translated by Motoyuki Shibata in 2005, traces Sis’s memories of his boyhood and the history of Prague, and depicts the beautiful but sad ancient city.

Two years later, Galileo Galilei, Emissary of the Stars, was published in 1996 and was nominated for the Caldecott Medal for Outstanding Picture Book in the United States for its reading of the life of the brave scientist Galilei. Although Sis has written many biographical picture books about great people, he does not stop at celebrating their accomplishments but also focuses on their struggles and the difficulties they faced in their youth.

In 2007, he published an autobiographical picture book based on his diary, “Kabe: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” which established his international reputation as a picture book author from the Czech Republic. This work is a monumental work that recalls Sis’s identity, describing his painful experience of having her freedom of expression restricted in his homeland under the Soviet Union, and how he continued to hold on to his dreams and hopes despite this.

In 2012, Sis was awarded the International Andersen Prize for Painters, and in 2014, he created a picture book about the life of Saint-Exupéry, the author of “The Prince of the Stars,” “The Aviator and the Prince of the Stars: The Life of Saint-Exupéry,” offering a new interpretation of this timeless masterpiece.

The trajectory of Sis’s creative activities has been continuous, starting with the production of films in his native Czech Republic, followed by illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and books in the United States, and then the creation of picture books. His uninterrupted enthusiasm for artistic activities is backed by his joy and passion for drawing and expressing himself freely, which he has held since he was a child.

This is the first exhibition of Sis’s work to be held in Japan. This exhibition will provide a bird’s-eye view of Sis’s art through approximately 150 works, including original drawings of his representative picture books and animation works, the starting point of his creative activities, as well as objects, conceptual notes, sketches, diaries, and various other works and materials. The exhibition is scheduled to travel to the Itami City Museum of Art in 2023.


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from September 23, 2021 to November 14, 2021


Peter Sis


Adults ¥1000; University and High School Students, Age 65-74 ¥800; Junior High School Students and Under, Seniors 75 & Over free.

Venue Hours

From 10:00 To 18:00
Closed on Mondays
Note:Open on public holiday Monday but closed on the following day.


Address: 1-36-16 Nukui, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 176-0021
Phone: 03-3577-1821

3 minute walk from Nakamurabashi Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line.

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