Bendio Arts precinct springs to life with animation festival

Bendio Arts precinct springs to life with animation festival

24 Jun 2008

The best animations from around the globe will be on show when this year's La Trobe University Animation Media Arts Festival returns to Bendigo after its successful debut last year.

A still from The Last Warhorse by Susan McMinn

The festival is made possible by a grant from the La Trobe Regional Development Initiative Fund. Head of the School of Visual Arts, Dr James McArdle said the festival aims to develop the reputation of the University's Visual Arts School as a centre for international exchange and postgraduate research in the field of contemporary media arts, with a special focus on animation.

'This is our second animation festival with creative works from Australia and around the world, which takes us a step closer to establishing a regional animation and media arts hub in Bendigo,' Dr McArdle said.

Home grown talent will combine with international artists in the premiere of works of two La Trobe University Animation Media Arts Festival bursary recipients alongside that of other Australian and overseas animators featured in the Australian International Animation Festival.

Susan McMinn and Erin Ricardo took part in an innovative teaching program that represents a new and exciting approach by La Trobe University to develop and support experimental and new media arts in regional Victoria.

'Through the efforts of the University's lecturer in charge of multimedia, Claire Smith, we were able to secure the expertise of three prominent animators to run master classes and act as mentors to Susan and Erin during their postgraduate studies,' Dr McArdle said.

Ms Smith said the Visual Arts Centre last year hosted three artists' residencies who worked on their own projects as well as contributing to the public symposium and conducting master classes for the Ms McMinn and Ms Ricardo.

'Professor Martin Rieser is a prominent academic from England and La Trobe students and the general public gained enormously from his lectures and symposiums. The mentoring provided to Erin and Susan by two other masters in the field, Melbourne artist, Maggie Fooke and Portuguese animator, Regina Pessoa is invaluable. All three are recognised experts in animation as well as being multi-award winners,' Ms Smith said.

Ms Ricardo is a graduate of La Trobe's Visual Arts degree. Her interest in animation arose from a series of drawings she produced in 2006 for her Honours assessment.

'The drawings I produced for Made of, Made up presented as a series of works on paper that carried a strong narrative thread and suggested a progression into working with the moving image. Participation in the animation bursary has given me basic technical knowledge and access to the equipment and professional guidance needed to produce my first short film,' Ms Ricardo said.

Ms Ricardo said her presentation for the festival - titled Hot Air - emerged from an interest in animating drawings with a transparent luminous quality, while the narrative inspiration came from images of character balloons collected during her travels.

Ms McMinn is currently studying for a Master of Visual Arts by research. Her project, Hooves and Steel: The warhorse in conflict, investigates the myth and legend surrounding the Australian Light Horse and in particular the Waler.

Ms McMinn's animation, The Last Warhorse, highlights the vital role played by Australian Waler during the Palestine campaigns. 'I have focussed on the Australian war horse during the Palestine campaigns between 1915 and 1918; historical records, war diaries, letters, poems and oral histories are influential in the development of resultant imagery,' Ms McMinn said.

Ms McMinn said that the La Trobe University animation bursary has allowed her to further develop her interest in movement in art. 'To have the opportunity to investigate actual animation of my drawing and painting has been an exciting progression in my work.'

The Australian International Animation Festival is on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 June at La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre, 121 View Street, Bendigo. Tickets are $10 per session ($6 students and concession) or $20 for the full program. Details of the program can be viewed at and

Photo opportunity

Bursary recipient, Susan McMinn and La Trobe University lecturer in charge of multimedia, Claire Smith will review Ms McMinn's work in her studio.

WHEN? 10 am, Wednesday 25 June 2008

WHERE? Ms McMinn's studio, top floor, La Trobe University Visual Arts Building (floor above the Phyllis Palmer Gallery), Edwards Road, Bendigo
Park in car park 22 (access via Gate 2, Edwards Road or Gate 8, Sharon Street)

To arrange an interview or for further information, please contact:

Zerin Knight
La Trobe University
Media Liaison, Bendigo Campus
Phone 03 5444 7375
Mobile 0428 463 161





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