One hundred and twelve years ago the eminent American writer Mark Twain sought and received pain relief for an agonising tooth from Newcastle dentist Mr Wells.
A thank you letter Twain sent to the dentist has inspired a group of artists from the School of Drama, Fine Art and Music at the University of Newcastle whose works will be displayed at the Newcastle Region Library Lovett Gallery from Friday 11 May.
Library Exhibitions and Events Coordinator CAROL EDMONDS says the original letter (dated 1895) is a highlight of the New Adventures of Mark Twain: coalopolis to metropolis exhibition.
"Twain's brief visit to Newcastle was part of a world speaking tour which included Australia. The thank you letter Twain sent Wells wasn't uncovered until around 1990. It shapes the superb collection of works on display at the Lovett Gallery by artists including Brett Alexander, Trevor Weekes , Liz Ashburn and Philip Schofield*."
The University of Newcastle curated the exhibition which will tour to New York later this year.
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Arts at The University of Newcastle, MIRANDA LAWRY says taking the exhibition to New York's Pearl Street Gallery will gain international recognition for the University of Newcastle and the arts in Newcastle.
"The exhibition has provided a rare opportunity for artists to explore an iconic figure whose visit to Newcastle inspired these works. The tour to New York will present Newcastle's rich cultural history to an international audience."
The exhibition will be opened by leading Australian author Don Watson, editor of The Wayward Tourist: Mark Twain's Adventures in Australia, at 5.30pm, Friday 11 May 2007.
*Other artists include: Anne Graham, Miranda Lawry, Pam Sinnott, Kris Smith and Patricia Wilson-Adams.