For the first time in Southeast Asia, Walt Disney Animation Studios will be showcasing over 500 specially curated art pieces to celebrate the artistry and technological innovation of Disney’s iconic characters from over the past 90 years. The exhibition is called Disney: Magic of Animation and it will take place at the ArtScience Museum from 26 October 2019 to 29 March 2020.

The art pieces include original drawings, sketches, paintings and concept art taken straight from the archives of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library. There’s certainly lots to see, considering they are nearly a century’s worth of work.

The Lion King, 1994, Concept art, Kelvin Yasuda © Disney

“We are thrilled to share this exhibition, Disney: Magic of Animation, with the people of Singapore and hope that the passion, creativity and artistry showcased in this exhibit will instill in the viewer a greater appreciation for what we believe is a truly unique 20th century art form,” said Mary Walsh, the animation research library’s managing director.

But animation is so much more than static drawings, in fact it breathes life into the art with various styles and techniques like creating characters in a shot sequence to make them “move”. So to showcase the true magic of animation, there’s also plenty of interactive exhibitions for you to enjoy, such as hands-on educational activities, audio-visual displays and projections.

Moana, 2016, Concept art, Lisa Keene © Disney

Honor Harger, ArtScience Museum’s executive director, explained, “This exhibition explores both the art and the science of animation – a filmmaking technique which Disney have pioneered and perfected for almost a century. The show reveals the technologies and scientific innovations that revolutionised filmmaking throughout the 20th century.”

“Featuring hundreds of priceless historical artefacts plus an exciting selection of never-seen-before artworks from contemporary films, this show is a timeless blend of the past and the present, that instantly captures the imagination,” she added.

Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie
Credit to Britannica and Disney

Disney: Magic of Animation has five themed galleries. It starts off with “Creating Believable Characters: Bringing Drawings to Life”, a showcase of early animation techniques by Disney pioneers, including a physical recreation of the trademark steamboat from 1982’s Steamboat Willie.

Next is the second gallery called “The Magic Begins: Continual Research and Development”. Here, you’ll find how Disney classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi utilise innovative artistic principles and tools to accurately capture character movements and idiosyncrasies. This includes Disney’s very own technological tool that was developed in their very own animation studio.

Pinocchio, 1940, Concept art, Gustaf Tenggren © Disney

The third gallery “Producers of Magic: Creating Diversity in Expression and a Wider World” features background paintings and concept art from films like Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp. You can find more new production technologies, thanks to the global communication improvements in the 1940s to 1950s.

As digital technology continued to advance in the 1990s, Disney also ramped up efforts to take advantage of computer graphics technologies and incorporate big Broadway-like music to add another dimension to their animations. The fourth gallery “Towards New Dimensions: Digital Advances, Musical Seas” highlights this technological innovation and power of emotion in their films like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Mulan and Pocahontas and their signature soundtracks.

The Little Mermaid, 1989, Concept art, Michael Peraza, Jr. © Disney

In the final gallery “Bringing People Together: Social Diversity, Messages for Our Global Future”, Disney unveils the evolution of their animations in the 2000s where they’re typically centered around meaningful social themes on family, cultural diversity and respect for nature. These works include Big Hero 6, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph and Moana.

Tickets to Disney: Magic of Animation will be available from 1 October 2019 at the Marina Bay Sands website and all their box offices.

Here are the ticket prices:

Adult: $16
Senior (65 years and above), Student, Child: $12
Family package (2 adults + 2 kids): $45

Adult: $19
Senior (65 years and above), Student, Child: $14
Family package (2 adults + 2 kids): $54

Big Hero 6, 2014, Concept art, Paul Felix © Disney