Students Staff

06 January 2009

Animation artist arrives at Essex

Colchester Campus

Art by Sun Xun

An emerging artistic talent from China is taking up residency in the University of Essex Gallery.

As part of the University’s focus on China, animation artist Sun Xun will spend five-weeks at the Colchester Campus. Among a growing number of Chinese artists who produce politically engaged work, Sun Xun combines traditional techniques and new media to create animated films that take the viewer through human landscapes where the personal has become political.

Born in 1980 in the Liaoning province of northeast China, Sun Xun graduated from the printmaking department of the China Academy of Fine Arts in 2005. Through animation, he has found a medium to explore the rapidly changing world around him. Working on paper and canvas, he uses an array of materials ranging from oil paints and charcoal, to montage and newspapers. He has developed a technique of sequential animation: drawing, recording, erasing and drawing again, thereby building up a body of work which evolves into his films.

Fast developing a reputation around the world, Sun Xun has participated in several international film festivals and showed his work last summer at the Southbank Centre’s My China Now project. While at the University, Sun Xun will create a new work inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Alongside Sun Xun’s residency, the Arts on 5 team at the University will be working with schools in Colchester and Clacton, delivering animation workshops inspired by his work. Chinese students will assist at the workshops, bringing their real life experiences into the classroom.

This Essex County Council-funded residency forms part of the University’s partnership project with firstsite, This is China, which runs from Thursday 15 January to Thursday 19 February. It includes an exhibition of posters from the Cultural Revolution, screenings of Chinese short films, a performance by maverick live artists Mad for Real and a critical debate programme. Organised as part of the Jiangsu-Essex Festival, This is China has been made possible by support from Essex County Council and University of Essex alumni.


Notes to editors:
The attached photograph shows work by artist Sun Xun. Further photographs are available on request.

Sun Xun will take up residency in the University Gallery at the Colchester Campus from Thursday 15 January to Thursday 19 February. The University Gallery is open from 11am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 12noon to 4pm Saturday.

For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on telephone: 01206 872807 or e-mail:

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