WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images, story and voices of deceased, by and about persons. Discretion advised.
8 July 2021 // Allen Mansell
Allan Mansell ( 7 May 1957 - ) is a Senior Tasmanian Aboriginal visual artist who works across print, painting and drawing. Developing his artistic skills as a means of “expressing his Aboriginality and love of the natural world.”
He has lived in many parts of Tasmania including the island communities of the Furneaux group in the Bass Strait. As a child he and his family moved around Tasmania a great deal following seasonal work such as mutton birding, small fruit harvesting and various agricultural work. This was a common experience for Aboriginal children in Tasmania during the 1960’s.
Calling Bruny Island home, he has developed his artistic skills as a means of expressing his Aboriginality and love of the natural world. Before taking up study at the University of Tasmania Allan was employed by Parks & Wildlife Tasmania. He has studied three years of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree where he majored in print making and studying painting. During this time he exhibited extensively in both collaborative and solo exhibitions.
A celebrated artist and printmaker whose Tasmanian Aboriginal artwork features Nationally in permanent collections such as the Queensland Art Gallery and has also been sold to collectors around the world.
Most recently, Mansell has teemed up with the Hobart City Council for a 12month conversation installation in Franklin Square is entitled Truth Telling. This temporarily transforms the statue of Colonist William Crowther into a memorial for William Lanne. Dutch-born Crowther was a 19th century naturalist and surgeon and briefly Premier of Tasmania but is also known for mutilating the remains of Tasmanian Aboriginal man William Lanne in the 1860s.
Mansells installation show his head and hands coated in red as he holds an Aboriginal flag in one hand and a saw in the other. Allan has also covered up the text on the statue with an explanation of Crowther’s actions against Lanne.
The artist says this project is a chance for him to be able to rectify past wrongs. “I’m driven by putting the wrongs right and telling the truth of our history,” he said. “I’ve spent all my life battling white bureaucracy and telling the truth of what happened, as it isn’t happening in our schools and libraries.
“Aboriginal people have been fighting all our lives. For our right to be a person. For our rights to our land and our waterways....What happened to Lanne happened to many of our ancestors as they fought to keep their lands. This is the truth of what happened.”