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A better way to exhibit
Henrietta Manning is a well-known, local, hardworking artist, always with a project or several on the go. I attended the launch of Henrietta’s latest public exhibition at the Schoolhouse Gallery, Rosny Farm Arts Centre exhibiting space, on Sunday 31 July. I was suitably impressed with the range of artworks by artists Henrietta Manning and Sally James. Guests assembled, for public safety and social distancing reasons, outside of and on the veranda of the charming Old Schoolhouse venue. Ms Manning’s section of the joint exhibition is titled “A Bite of the Apple”. Both artists had lots of time to talk to guests, explaining their work and enjoying the ambience. Usually, art exhibition openings are high energy events, as artists mingle, explain their work and arrange sales. However, even by Monday when I caught up with her, Henrietta was still in laid back mode, not what one usually expects of an artist a day after a launch. I asked her what’s different, why wasn’t she manning the exhibition, and how come she was so relaxed? Ms Manning explained the concept of the Clarence Council input: “The complex has two exhibition spaces – Schoolhouse Gallery and the historic stone barn – both run and supported by Clarence Council full time staff. The exhibitions don’t need to be manned by exhibiting artists. Part of the support offered to artists that are accepted for exhibiting is that sales are handled by the staff. This is a long-established venue for the arts that is also used for touring and feature exhibitions – Mona events and exhibitions often utilise the barn. Like everywhere there is a deadline for submission to exhibit. You are usually thinking a year in advance. Your exhibition proposal must be well thought out and supported by examples of your work and cv. This is better. It does free us up, for getting on with our art. It is particularly pertinent, not manning the exhibition at present as the cost of petrol coming from the Huon quickly mounts up. I will miss the interaction with the visitors and direct feedback on the work that you get when manning the space, yourself, but my own visitors book is there for people to leave comments and emails, to go onto my mailing list for future exhibitions and events. There is also a pamphlet about this exhibition and a future event in November this year – Far South Fossicking.”
Artistic community complement each other
I asked Ms Manning about whether it is beneficial to have another person/artist there, sharing the gallery: “Because of the high number of applications for the space it was decided to divide the schoolhouse gallery into two to allow two solo exhibitions to run in conjunction with one another. The curator Sarah Bishop is careful to select shows that she feels complement and work well together. In this instance, printmaker Sally James is in the space next to mine. Working in reduction linocuts, she has mastered this technique at a very large scale. Clarence Council doesn’t take a hire fee… but a commission from sales seemed a good way to go, when a year ago I didn’t know how the pandemic would be. Shows were getting cancelled.” In discussing the subject of the exhibition being only “a bite” (not every apple variety mentioned), I asked Ms Manning about the amount of research put into the work. Could this exhibition become a book or some such, and has anyone suggested it? “Yes, a whole heap of people! It has been suggested it would be a great coffee table book, for B&Bs, or that Willie Smith’s should have a copy! I might look into it…” said Ms Manning.
Living history
A special touch, showing the living history behind the exhibition, was a real ballgown, with a glowing painting of it. One of the attendees at the exhibition was Bronwen Wedd, whose beautiful golden ballgown, worn way-back-then (and which she could possibly still fit into now), was thrilled to see her garment. Henrietta Manning spoke of the reaction by art lovers:
“…yes they loved talking to The Belle of the Ball at the opening and Bronwen Wedd was just so happy to have found the reason why she had kept her dress for all these years…ready for me to paint and therefore preserve for all time! People were particularly fascinated at being able to stand in the middle of the space, look at the dress hanging at one end of the room and then turning to compare with my painting of the dress at the other end.”
So many more ideas for projects to come from this one exhibition. Try to catch it at the Rosny Park art space before 21 August. It is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm (closed Monday and Tuesday).
Merlene Abbott

Jane Goodall’s Barbie
I have to admit to not liking the original Barbie doll. Though in hindsight if my daughter had had one of the very early models it would have been worth a small fortune now! However, I was excited to learn of the latest doll coming after a long line of previous versions.
Barbie was born on March 9, 1959 and officially launched at the American International Toy Fair. Barbie was very ‘cutting edge’ in the way she was manufactured and when she was first shown she had 22 outfits to choose from.
This was all a long way from the previous offerings of paper cut out dolls and clothing which tended not to last long. Originally the designers and producers at Mattel intended to sell more clothes and accessories than dolls. They wanted a sturdier doll, something, perhaps of plastic instead of flimsy card, and more realistic. They wanted fashionable clothes with zippers instead of easily torn paper clothes with inadequate tabs. Plus styled hair, makeup, and manicured nails, and interchangeable outfits that more than one doll could use. They could not have imagined in their wildest dreams just what they had started.
Influenced by the movie stars of the 1950s, the first Barbie doll was fully made up with red lips, black eyeliner and perfectly arched eyebrows. That’s probably why I did not like her! She wore a strapless zebra striped swimsuit and came with either blonde or brunette hair done up in a cute ‘Audrey Hepburn ponytail’ and in the first year of production, over 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold!
As each decade rolled on Barbie changed as attitudes changed. In the 1960s Barbie meets Ken, and moves into her dream house. With a new home and a new man, Barbie also found herself inundated with new friends and family, including lifelong best friend Midge and little sister Skipper. In 1967, Mattel debuted ‘Coloured Francie’ the first African American doll to enter Barbie’s network of friends. Both Francie and Christie, who followed just a year later, were manufactured with dark skin.
By the 1980s Barbie had become a career girl no longer restricted to the role of housewife. This was when we first saw ‘Dr Barbie’, ‘Astronaut Barbie’ and ‘Pilot Barbie’. The year 2014 was Barbie’s year as she became ‘Entrepreneur Barbie’.
The announcement that Jane Goodall has her own eco-friendly Barbie doll is what started this research! In recognition of her ground-breaking environmental work, the doll will be carbon neutral and made from recycled, “ocean-bound” plastic.
“My entire career, I’ve wanted to help inspire kids to be curious and explore the world around them – just like I did when I first travelled to Tanzania 62 years ago,” Jane, now aged 88, said in a statement ahead of the doll’s release. “I’m thrilled to partner with Barbie and encourage young children to learn from their environment and feel a sense that they can make a difference. Through this partnership, I hope to inspire the next generation of eco-leaders to join me in protecting our planet and remind them they can be anything, anywhere – on the field, in the lab, and at the table.” The doll comes dressed in khaki shorts and a shirt, holding a notebook and binoculars, and is accompanied by a chimpanzee – the animal Goodall conducted ground-breaking research on back in the 1960s.
The launch of the Jane Goodall doll coincides with the 62nd anniversary of her first journey to the forest of Gombe National Park in Tanzania. In a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, Barbie has also introduced its “2022 Career of the Year Eco-Leadership Team” doll set, with a ‘chief sustainability officer’, ‘conservation scientist’, ‘renewable energy engineer’ and an ‘environmental advocate’.
The doll set is designed to get children thinking about the career possibilities in sustainability
and environmentalism.
 “Kids need more role models like Dr Jane Goodall, because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning – seeing it makes all the difference,” said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. “We hope that this collection and homage to a ground-breaking pioneer for women in science and conservation inspires kids to learn more about green careers, how they can protect the planet, and act out sustainable stories through doll play.”
Marian Hearn

Winter blues, or what?
It is winter. In Tasmania this means an extended period of shorter days, frequently grey and showery, and in the Huon Valley, a river fog that often doesn’t lift until at least late morning. Such a long stretch of time seeing little or no sunshine can lead to us feeling sad, dejected, or even clinically depressed. There are names for these states of mind. One is “the winter blues”. Another is “seasonal affective disorder (SAD)”. The terms are often used interchangeably, but the conditions are not the same. Recently, in barely the middle of what seems to me to have been an especially long and grey winter this year, I could feel the black dog on my shoulder, growling menacingly in my ear, so I went in search of an explanation for what I was feeling, and why. I found this in an on-line newsletter from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services:
“Winter blues is a general term, not a medical diagnosis. It’s fairly common, and it’s more mild than serious. It usually clears up on its own in a fairly short amount of time. Seasonal affective disorder, though, is different. It’s a well-defined clinical diagnosis that’s related to the shortening of daylight hours. It interferes with daily functioning over a significant period of time. A key feature of SAD is that it follows a regular pattern. It appears each year as the seasons change, and it goes away several months later, usually during spring and summer.”
The website of the Australian organisation, Beyond Blue, carries a brief explanation of what SAD is, but then asserts that it is rare in Australia, and “much more common in countries with short days and long nights in winter – ie, the northern hemisphere”: this seems to overlook that Tasmania is part of Australia. So for a more detailed understanding of the condition, I had to search through other sources – most notably, in the USA. The Mayo Clinic, a well-respected medical institution, tells us
the following:
In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late autumn or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
• Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day;
• Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed;
• Having low energy and feeling sluggish;
• Having problems with sleeping too much;
• Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain;
• Having difficulty concentrating;
• Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty;
• Having thoughts of not wanting to live.
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
• Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in autumn and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
• Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
• Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.”
There are various recognised ways to treat SAD once it is diagnosed. Foremost among them is by light therapy, in which the sufferer establishes a pattern of regular exposure to very bright light daily, usually first thing in the morning. This therapy can be administered via a light box, a device specially designed for the purpose, which produces light in safe and helpful wavelengths, but not in other, potentially damaging ones. It should only be used as prescribed by a health professional.
If in doubt, see your doctor
I don’t pretend to be a medical expert, and certainly do not advocate that anyone should self-diagnose from information found on the internet. However, if you feel something is wrong, you should follow the advice given on all of the sites I have researched, as summed up by the Mayo Clinic: “It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your health care provider.”
Paul Abbott

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