Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI, has unveiled the internationally acclaimed exhibition Disney: The Magic of Animation, celebrating nearly 100 years of the iconic studio’s creations. Shown for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, a Victorian Government initiative delivered through Visit Victoria.
Curated from a staggering 65 million original artworks housed at the Walt Disney Animation Research Library in Los Angeles, 500 carefully selected pieces – including sketches, drawings, paintings and concept art – comprise this once-in-a-lifetime exposition, which pulls back the curtain on the magic that goes into making some of the world’s most iconic films.
These rarely seen works highlight the detailed development of Disney’s most beloved animations – from Mickey Mouse’s first talkie Steamboat Willie (1928), through to the ground-breaking Fantasia (1940) and the universally celebrated Frozen (2013) – while highlighting the extraordinary evolution of animation techniques which the studio pioneered. The Melbourne iteration will also debut never-before-exhibited artwork from the Studio’s newest release Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).
“We’re delighted to open Disney: The Magic of Animation – our first major exhibition since reopening our transformed museum,” said ACMI Director CEO, Katrina Sedgwick OAM. “Disney has enchanted audiences across the world, with the universal fondness for beloved classics just as strong as the enthusiasm for modern masterpieces. It’s so special to be able to bring an exhibition to Australia that will resonate so strongly with audiences of all ages and all cultures and will be a source of joy for so many.”
“Part of The Walt Disney Company’s local and loved strategy is to create new opportunities to share our unique and global stories with local audiences. This is at the heart of everything we do to entertain, connect and inspire. We are incredibly excited to share the Disney: The Magic of Animation exhibition with the people of Melbourne at the iconic ACMI museum, in the centre of the city. Bringing this exhibition to Australian shores invites guests to connect with the depth and breadth of our stories, and beloved characters in a more relevant, and meaningful way. We hope that those who attend will be delighted and inspired by the artistry showcased, bringing to life our Disney stories and its magic, here in Australia,” said Kylie Watson-Wheeler, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company Australia & New Zealand.
“We are so excited to be opening our exhibition at ACMI and sharing these treasures from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library collection with Australian audiences. The exhibition features behind the scenes production artworks which were created during the development of our Disney animated films. Guests will have a rare opportunity to see how the film makers and artists develop our stories and work through different ideas and concepts along the way to creating the films we know so well. The artworks are inspiring and touching and show the diversity of artistic talents that go into the making of our films. We hand selected these artworks from our collection of over 65 million works, to give guests the special experience of going behind the scenes at the Walt Disney Animation Studios,” added Kristen McCormick, Art Exhibitions & Conservation Manager of Walt Disney Animation Research Library.
“From Mickey Mouse to The Lion King, no matter your age – the wonderful world of Disney has reached us all, I encourage Victorians to visit this Australian-first exhibition at ACMI this winter. Disney: The Magic of Animation is set to be a blockbuster – not only will we see Victorians filing in to see it, it will also attract visitors from around the country which is exactly what we need as Victoria continues its recovery,” said Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson.
Lauded across the globe, from Paris to Tokyo, Seoul to Singapore, Disney: The Magic of Animation is a remarkable compilation of artworks by the creative team of artists and film makers at the Walt Disney Animation Studios. It will spark joy, curiosity and nostalgia in visitors young and old. The opening of Disney: The Magic of Animation is the first time a major exhibition has taken place since the museum’s $40 million redevelopment, backed by the Victorian Government. Disney: The Magic of Animation opens at ACMI today. Tickets can be purchased online at acmi.net.au