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Curated by: Amy Bench and Erin Cunningham

Exhibition Dates: April 14 – May 13, 2023


For those who love animation Erin Cunningham and Amy Beny have worked together to present the works of five famous artists. Sumito Sakakibara (Japan), Shunsaku Hayashi (Japan), Moïa Jobin-Paré (Canada), Ala Nunu (Poland/Portugal), and Sofia El Khyari (Morocco/France).


The work of these five artists takes us on a fascinating journey to explore the pursuits of human connection and our relationships to technology & infrastructure, the natural world, and personal desires.


The exhibition includes hand drawn and painted cel animations, as well as original artwork from the films.


In each piece, the filmmaker takes stock of the world as it is and responds in kind, playing with surrealism and varying tones of repetition, color, sound, and narrative storytelling. The works are a response to the seen, revealing unexpected, unseen, interiors that in some ways feel more real than their inputs.


Featured artists include Sumito Sakakibara (Japan), Shunsaku Hayashi (Japan), Moïa Jobin-Paré (Canada), Ala Nunu (Poland/Portugal), and Sofia El Khyari (Morocco/France)


Shunsaku creates paintings in which the movement of time has a linear progression, inherently creating an animated sequence. There is a metafictional relation between story and the process, where all time and movement is stored within the painting.


Moïa looks to the urban landscape, pairing scratched-on, large-format photography and stop-motion animation to study how we interact with the constructed world.


Sofia uses paint and parts of her own body as the brush, to reminisce on a lost relationship and the feeling of desire.


Ala asks, how would it be, to be without a head?


On the closing night of the show, we will have an outdoor screening featuring work from animators: Don Hertzfeldt, Anna Samo, Lisa La Bracio, Elyse Kelly, and Geoff Marslett.


About the artists


Ala Nunu was born in 1994 in Poznań Poland, and is currently based in Portugal. She studied at University of Arts in her hometown, Royal College of Art in London and La Poudriere in Valence, France. She is an independent animation director who directs series and short films, and has worked for BFI, the London Natural History Museum and The Atlantic. She is a member of COLA Animation, and is an animator on the Oscar nominated short, “Ice Merchants”.


Sumito extends his ideas about repetitive motion as a means of reaching a state of “Row”, akin to rhyming in rap. It could be seen as a perpetual “pre-state of being” drawn from a single painting, as keyframes are animated over a few seconds frame by frame.

Moïa Jobin-Paré was born in 1978, and grew up in the countryside and in the city. She is a filmmaker at the crossroads of animation and photography. She has developed a unique and innovative scraping technique on silver photographs, using those images in her short films. She lives and works in Montreal.
Shunsaku Hayashi (b.1992, Osaka) is a painter and experimental filmmaker, exploring the intersection of experimental film, animation and painting. “Interstitial” (2017) won the Grand Jury Prize for Animation Short at 23rd Slamdance Film Festival. “Railment” (2017) received the Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film at the 55th Ann Arbor Film Festival. “Leaking Life” (2019) was an official selection at several international film festivals, including Berlinale, Annecy, Zagreb, and Raindance.
Sofia El Khyari grew up in Casablanca. She moved to Paris to study cultural management, learning animation on her own. She directed her first short film and then obtained a Master’s degree in animation at the Royal College of Art in London. Her films have been awarded and screened at various international festivals.
Sumito Sakakibara (b. 1980, Hokkaido). Sumito graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2004 with a MA degree in Animation. After spending 10 years in Europe, Sumito is now back in Japan, living and working in Nagano. He has recently completed a commissioned project, “Iizuna Fair,” for the prefectural Museum of Contemporary Art in Nagano where he presented a 25 meter panoramic projected installation animation. This work is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.
About the curators:
Amy Bench is a filmmaker working across media drawn to stories of community and resilience. She was the cinematographer on “Trans in America: Texas Strong”, which won an Emmy for Best Original Short Documentary in 2019, and 2 Webby Awards. Amy’s animated documentary “A Line Birds Cannot See” won Special Jury Recognition at SXSW, and is now available on The New Yorker. Her latest film, “More Than I Want to Remember,” won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Short Form (Animation), Best Animated Short at Tribeca, was shortlisted for the 2023 Oscars, and is available on Paramount Plus. She received her MFA in Film at The University of Texas at Austin in 2010.
Erin Cunningham is an artist who works primarily in sculpture. She utilizes material combinations, such as cast metals, and the female figure to explore dualities of masculine/feminine, disposable/precious, and fragility/strength. She has shown internationally, including The Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo and at Mönchskirche Salzwedel in Germany. Artist residencies include BAER Art Center in Hofsos, Iceland as well as Atelierhaus Residency Hilmsen in Germany.
Cunningham is one of the founding members of the ICOSA Collective and currently holds a position as an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003 and an MFA in studio art from UT Austin in 2007.
Exhibition Dates:
April 14 – May 13, 2023
Closing Ceremony Saturday, May 13 , 7-10 pm
Third Thursday East Austin Arts District hours: April 20 , 6-9 pm
Gallery Hours: Fridays & Saturdays 12-6 pm
ICOSA Collective Gallery, 916 Springdale Rd, Bldg 2, #102, Austin, TX 78702