25.11.11 From Human Hands

Cynthia Manietta - From Human Hands

25th NOVEMBER 2011: Opening celebration for two ceramics exhibitions -

Cynthia Manietta's From Human Hands


Fragile by Julia Stewart

on Friday at 7pm.

'The body of work created for this exhibition is designed to explore the issue of climate change,

environment control and population sustainability.'  - Cynthia Manietta, October 2011

'Octababy’ - detail


The course criteria for the ‘Advanced Diploma in Ceramics’ required work exhibiting integrated

animal and human characteristics.

Employing casting techniques I created an army of

25 creatures I call ‘Octababies’:

part octopus and part swaddled baby. 

The message I want to convey is that

human tentacles reach into, and exploit,

every part of this planet. There is not one

plant or animal on this planet that we

do not eat or utilise in some way.

My work expresses a personal opinion that

the world should come together and stipulate a

sustainable world population target.

Many people would disagree with what I consider

a logical viewpoint, as this idea infringes our human rights, but what of the rights of our planet and its non-human inhabitants? Our planet cannot provide

enough food and resources to sustain

the present human population in the level of

comfort currently enjoyed by Australians.

Cynthia Manietta and her army of 'Octababies'.

River Mussels

Earlier this year, I had dinner with a friend in Brisbane. She claimed the recent flood was “The flood we were never supposed to have”.

In an inquiry on April the 16th 2011, a number of SEQ Water engineers responsible for managing the discharge from Wivenhoe Dam were interviewed. The inquiry’s conclusions support my friends’ assertion. If water had been released from Wivenhoe Dam only 36 hours earlier many houses and businesses would have survived.

While exploring some of the flood damaged river systems at Twin Bridges down stream from Wivenhoe Dam, my son Liam found these large river mussels scoured from the deeper river channels. This is indicative of humanity’s ever-increasing hold over the natural environment: the necessity to retain water to support a growing and already unsustainable population. The death of these mussels is a small example of what happens to the environment when things go wrong. Homo sapiens must be the most ego-centric creature on earth: we only focus on the human cost, ignoring our life sustaining environment.

'River Mussels'

Thirty-six numbered mussels were created,

marking the time difference

between their death and their survival.

They will be exhibited on river sand.

Humans classify everything in their environment

using scientific nomenclature.

The numerical system is symbolic

of this classification system.

Internal Ecosystems

I like the idea of internal ecosystems. An ecosystem placed within a vessel. Internal spaces relate to the idea of an ecosystem’s inherent fragility.

Slip casting from a $1 op-shop bowl that closely resembled a fish bowl, provided a suitable interior.