Lions and tigers and bears and puppets and masks, oh my

The International Festival of Animated Objects is not for the faint of heart. In this often self-taught and self-made art form, masks, puppetry, still-motion animation, and marionettes are used to push the boundaries of reality and make for truly exceptional performances.
“Masks and puppetry are at the heart of every culture, there is a primal element (to) them. It is an imaginative art form that draws on expanding and developing traditions,” said Xstine Cook, curator and artistic director for the festival
Cook works hard to ensure that local artists’ work is used, along with well-known international acts within the festival’s programming. “It’s very important that we work with emerging artists to give them a main avenue in the festival,” Cook said. “We must grow and change with the art form.”
ACAD student Jennifer Akkermans is part of the festival this year. Her “creature-like” textile creations, the Morphids, will be featured in the slow-motion exhibition of La Famiglia, located on the +15 level of the Epcor Centre Building.
“The Morphoids are like a family,” Akkermans said.
“They have to learn how to live together in the space. Like a family, they don’t always like each other or get along. But I think they know that they are family and so love each other, though sometimes in a bit of a resentful way.”
Akkermans says the festival has been a positive experience for her and allows students to collaborate with other local artists.
“It is not only exposing me to other visual artists, but I am realizing that there might be a completely different avenue for me to pursue in terms of my work and practice,” said Akkermans.
With over 27 different events this week, something will appeal to everyone, regardless of age or interest.
“The festival is about community. Expect a home-grown feel this year with the venues being mostly in Inglewood, the heart of where art lives in Calgary,” Cook said.
Take a break from the redundant movie date night this week and open yourself to an entirely new art form. The fifth biennial International Festival of Animated Objects, running from March 9-13, hosts various exhibitions, performances, animated movies, and workshops that are sure to delight and bewilder all in attendance.
Multiple venues and ticket prices ranging from $2 to $20, make this festival accessible for almost any budget.
“For the broke and starving student, I would recommend the Dali Wiggler Cabaret. You can see everything in the festival and it’s more party orientated,” said Cook.
For more information, go to animatedobjects.ca

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