Oscar nominated Cardiff artist celebrated at Senedd exhibition

Published 28/07/2022   |   Last Updated 29/07/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

An exhibition celebrating the specialist skill and talent of a Cardiff-based artist was launched at the Senedd.

The exhibition, titled Affairs of the Art – The Art of Joanna Quinn, brings never-before-seen work by highly acclaimed animator Joanna Quinn to Wales for the first time.  

Joanna, whose film Affairs of the Art was nominated for the ‘Best Animated Short Film’ in this year’s Oscars, has worked in Wales since founding animation company Beryl Productions with her partner - writer and producer Les Mills - in 1986.   

The couple have since collaborated closely on the production of their animated films, and celebrated their successes together, racking up top awards including three Emmys, four BAFTAs and three Oscar nominations.  

Joanna says she felt a responsibility to depict strong, rounded women in her work because the industry was so male-dominated: “At the time when I started out, there weren’t many female animators making films. So, I really enjoy making our films from a female perspective, that the audience could identify with - all with great humour. Which of course we are still doing!” 

The exhibition is at the Senedd Oriel from Friday 22 July – 6 September and features framed drawings and short video clips, from the artist’s earlier award-winning films, with selected unique drawings from her most recent Oscar nominated short film, Affairs of the Art, also being displayed. 

Affairs of the Art 

The entirely hand-drawn 16-minute comedy short was developed over 6 years, and consists of 24,000 drawings created by Joanna, some of which are displayed for the very first time, as part of the exhibition.  

The film showcases one family’s eccentric, yet endearing, obsessions, which vary from drawing to pet taxidermy, but also draws on themes of unfulfilled ambition and family. Joanna’s signature character, Beryl, a middle aged, Welsh factory worker is the main protagonist in the film and is also where the company name, Beryl Productions, derived from. The iconic character appears in 4 of Joanna’s films.  

Joanna Quinn says: 

“We were over the moon when we were invited to have the exhibition at the Senedd! Despite having exhibitions all over the world, we’ve been wanting to have one in Wales for the longest time. So, to have the first major showcase of our artwork in Wales at the Senedd, on our home turf, is a huge honour.  

“The exhibition is a celebration of all the work we have done, as a Welsh company, since Les Mills and I established Beryl Productions 36 years ago, where we have produced global films and commercials, all from our studio in Chapter, Cardiff 

Affairs of the Art being nominated for an Oscar was such an exciting experience for us. With Wales being a small country, we felt this huge sense of support – like the whole country was backing us. And hearing Beryl’s big Welsh voice boom around the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with all the stars looking up and watching clips from the film, was an incredible moment. 

Joanna added, “Upon entering the world of animation, compared to male animators, there weren’t many female animators. So, I felt it was my responsibility to depict the women that I animated and drew for the films, as strong and nice rounded women.”