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New Palawa art experience in Hobart

Dianne Bortoletto – February 18, 2024

Image: Supplied

Esteemed Palawa Indigenous artist Allan Mansell will be sharing his sustainable printing methods with guests at Hobart’s Henry Jones Art Hotel.

Available to all with a booking and held fortnightly on weekends, the art experience will take guests on a journey through Tasmanian history and indigenous culture as Mr Mansell shares tales of his upbringing and life as an indigenous man in Tasmania, the subtleties and stereotypes of indigenous art, his journey to printmaking and his distinctive, sustainable printmaking process, all while he creates a print of his latest piece, ‘Before and After’.

Mr Mansell, who was a member of the Stolen Generations, said his art is unique due to the Tasmanian Aboriginal culture largely being lost in a short period of time.

“My relationship with art began in my twenties when I started doing sketches to earn a little cash, I just did it as a pastime,” he said.

“Eventually, I was persuaded by a friend to submit a portfolio to the School of Creative Arts, located on Hunter Street in Hobart. I didn’t think I would get into art school, but three months later, I was accepted into a four-year Fine Arts Degree.

“I remember when I started studying art there was no such thing as Indigenous art study, it was all European art. Studying art was like trying to understand a foreign language, I didn’t know what the basis of art was until I went to uni.

“For sure I enjoyed it, I was lucky enough to go to Switzerland and see Leonardo da Vinci’s art.”

Mr Mansell has a long connection to the Hunter Street wharf area, having studied at the School of Creative Arts, which is located beside The Henry Jones Art Hotel. His pieces have since been sold all over the world and hang in prestigious venues in Europe, Asia and America.

“It’s a really nice feeling to find out that you are an artist, it’s a turning point. On that note, I think all my artworks are a turning point, the subject matter is changing all the time,” he said.

“For me, it is a great platform to launch Aboriginal rights, through art. We should be celebrating our First Nations people.

“I am a proud First Nations Man of lutruwita, and my main purpose lies in telling Aboriginal stories for young Aboriginal people to see through the historic art of printmaking.”

As Australia’s first dedicated art hotel, The Henry Jones Art Hotel is renowned for its support of local established and emerging artists and for showcasing art to tell stories of Tasmania’s past and present, providing guests with a deeper understanding and connection to place.

“My partnership in this new experience is driven by a deep commitment to passing on knowledge, preserving traditions and helping young minds find their voice through art, and I look forward to sharing what I know.

Created exclusively for The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Before and After is Allan’s newest piece and represents Hunter Island and Nipaluna (Hobart) before Europeans arrived.

It depicts key landmarks of the area’s past and present interwoven with symbols of the First Nations people who have lived for thousands of years on the land.

Palawan Connection is available to book via The Henry Jones Art Hotel team. More information is available online.