Shaun Tan's THE LOST THING finds its way across Australia

GENERAL: The Australian Government’s Australia Council for the Arts has awarded the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) a $241,185 touring grant to take the popular Melbourne-made exhibition Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing: From book to film to nine regional centres from 2015.

Created by ACMI, the critically acclaimed exhibition, which had its world premiere season from July 2013 to January 2014, goes behind the scenes on Academy Award-winning Australian animator Shaun Tan’s film and book, THE LOST THING.

Set in a city overrun by bureaucracy, Shaun Tan's picture book THE LOST THING tells the story of a boy who befriends a strange creature that doesn't appear to fit in any of the available pigeon holes. Melbourne-based production company Passion Pictures Australia invited Shaun to direct an animated version of THE LOST THING. Then, in 2010, the Oscar-winning short film emerged.

ACMI Board President, Peter Lewinsky, said the national tour would be ACMI’s largest ever undertaken and reflects a commitment to providing world class cultural experiences to regional and rural communities.

“The moving image is a potent cultural and creative space and our commitment is to provide a diversity of audiences with outstanding opportunities to engage with art and culture, and uniquely Australian stories, regardless of location,” Mr Lewinsky said. “With the support of the Australia Council, this unique and beautiful exhibition celebrating Shaun’s creative spirit can find a new generation of fans across the corners of the nation.”

Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing: From book to film goes behind-the-scenes to reveal how the popular book came to life as an animated film. It features Tan’s exquisite original drawings and working sketches alongside exclusive footage of the animators and sound artists, demonstrating how the drawings were brought to life on screen with movement, sound effects, music and narration.

ACMI Director & CEO, Tony Sweeney, who commissioned the exhibition, is pleased the exhibition experience will live on after enthralling tens of thousands of visitors during its premiere run. “Sharing this exhibition with audiences across Australia gives us the opportunity to spotlight Shaun Tan, one of Australia’s most imaginative animators and storytellers. Regional Australians will revel in the creative process of animation and hopefully be inspired as the new generation of Australian animators.”

Upon receiving the news, Shaun Tan said; “I'm absolutely delighted that this exhibition will travel to a wider audience, especially in regional areas. It's a further opportunity for people to see all the thinking and playfulness that goes on behind the scenes of a deceptively 'short' film such as The Lost Thing, and production material that can be considered a creative work in its own right. I couldn't hope for a better presentation either, masterfully crafted by the team at ACMI in a way that's sure to fascinate adults and children equally.”

From 2015 to 2017, Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing: From book to film, will take in nine venues across Australia, including Moreton Bay, Rockhampton, and Bundaberg in Queensland; Bunbury and Geraldton in Western Australia; Maitland, Armidale, and Albury in New South Wales; and Lilydale in Victoria. For more information, please visit

WATCH Shaun Tan draw THE LOST THING creature while discussing his process behind the creation of the character.

Touring Schedule:

February to April 2015 Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Moreton Bay, QLD

May to July 2015 Rockhampton Art Gallery, Rockhampton, QLD

August to October 2015 Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, Bundaberg, QLD

November 2015 to February 2016 Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, Lilydale, VIC

February to April 2016 Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland, NSW

April to July 2016 New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale, NSW

August to September 2016 Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, Bunbury, WA

September to October 2016 Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, Geraldton, WA

December 2016 to January 2017 Albury Regional Art Gallery, Albury, NSW

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


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