Thick lashings of paint create the portrait that takes pride of place in the Manning Regional Art Gallery office.
It is by acclaimed Australian author, actor, comedian and artist Anh Do who donated it to the Manning’s art collection following last year’s Manning Art Prize competition, in which it was a finalist.
Called “Without my make up”, it is expected to go on exhibition along with other new acquisitions during December and January.
Anh, whose work has become more widely known through the television series Anh’s Brush with Fame, was delighted to contribute to the Manning Regional Art Gallery collection.
“'I was thrilled to be a finalist in the Manning Art Prize and so when the curator asked me if I would consider donating the painting to the gallery I thought, why not!
“I love the Manning region and look forward to visiting your beautiful gallery,” he added.
The work is now part of a collection of almost 320 artworks, housed in the Manning Regional Art Gallery and in MidCoast Council chambers.
The MidCoast community are custodians of the collection.
“It’s a fantastic cultural asset for the MidCoast community, and one of only around 30 regional public collections across the state”, explains MidCoast Council’s director of Community Spaces and Services Paul De Szell.
The donation was made possible through the federal Cultural Gifts Program, designed to assist in recognising the importance of collecting Australia’s culturally valuable artworks.
In fact, all acquisitions into the city art collection come by donation in some way or another.
“Since Jane (Hosking) started work here at the gallery 17 years ago, Greater Taree City Council has not purchased one single work,” explained acting gallery director Rachel Piercy.
“They have all been donated.
“The Frank Saxby bequest has been a big part of the acquisitions and the Friends of the Gallery has donated works as has families and individuals from the area. Artists often say to keep the artworks.
“It’s the reason we have such an amazing art collection. It is such a cultural asset to our community,” she said.
“Ours would probably rival the one in Port Macquarie, which is a very large collection.”
Assistant director Jane Hosking said the gallery is working hard to put the collection online.
History of the Manning Regional Art Gallery city art collection
The first local government initiated acquisitive Art Prize in this area was conducted by the Taree Municipal Council in the old Council Chambers on the corner of Albert and Manning Streets in 1954.
This event was initiated by the late Mary Hunter OAM, with strong support from the then Town Clerk, the late Clyde Powditch MBE.
In 1970 the Council Chambers were relocated from Manning Street to Pulteney Street, and the annual Art Exhibition was held in the basement carpark.
From 1976, the Art Show was supported by Council and organised by the Mid North Coast Art Society (now known as Taree Artist Inc), yet the tradition of holding it in the carpark continued until 1987.
The collection has grown into a strong portfolio of over 320 works, which is a significant cultural asset for the MidCoast community.
The majority of works since 1988 have been donated to the collection through the Frank Saxby Bequest, The Friends of the Manning Regional Art Gallery via the acquisitive prize of the biennial Manning Art Prize, personal donations of artworks from community members and donations by artists.
The Cultural Gifts Program also encourages gifts of culturally significant items to go to public art galleries, museums and libraries by offering donors a tax deduction for the market value of the gift.
Through this program, the Manning Regional Art Gallery has acquired works from a variety of fabulous artists including Judy Cassab, Ken Done, Neil Frazer, and Robert Malherbe.