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New Guinea

New Guinea is a large island separated by the shallow Torres Strait from the rest of the Australian continent. It is the world's second-largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 785,753 km2, the largest island wholly or within the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania; the eastern half of the island is the major land mass of the independent state of Papua New Guinea. The western half, known as Western New Guinea or West Papua, forms a part of Indonesia and comprises the provinces of Papua and West Papua; the island has been known by various names: The name Papua was used to refer to parts of the island before contact with the West. Its etymology is unclear; the name comes from the words papo and ua, which means "not united" or, "territory that geographically is far away". Ploeg reports that the word papua is said to be derived from the Malay word papua or pua-pua, meaning "frizzly-haired", referring to the curly hair of the inhabitants of these areas. Another possibility, put forward by Sollewijn Gelpke in 1993, is that it comes from the Biak phrase sup i papwa which means'the land below' and refers to the islands west of the Bird's Head, as far as Halmahera.

Whatever its origin, the name Papua came to be associated with this area, more with Halmahera, known to the Portuguese by this name during the era of their colonization in this part of the world. When the Portuguese and Spanish explorers arrived in the island via the Spice Islands, they referred to the island as Papua. However, the name New Guinea was used by Westerners starting with the Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez in 1545, referring to the similarities of the indigenous people's appearance with the natives of the Guinea region of Africa; the name is one of several toponyms sharing similar etymologies meaning "land of the blacks" or similar meanings, in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants. The Dutch, who arrived under Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten, called it Schouten island, but this name was used only to refer to islands off the north coast of Papua proper, the Schouten Islands or Biak Island; when the Dutch colonized it as part of Netherlands East Indies, they called it Nieuw Guinea.

The name Irian was used in the Indonesian language to refer to the island and Indonesian province, as "Irian Jaya Province". The name was promoted in 1945 by brother of the future governor Frans Kaisiepo, it is taken from the Biak language of Biak Island, means "to rise", or "rising spirit". Irian is the name used in the Biak language and other languages such as Serui and Waropen; the name was used until 2001, when the name Papua was again used for the province. The name Irian, favored by natives, is now considered to be a name imposed by the authority of Jakarta. New Guinea is an island to the north of the Australian mainland, but south of the equator, it is isolated by the Arafura Sea to the west, the Torres Strait and Coral Sea to the east. Sometimes considered to be the easternmost island of the Indonesian archipelago, it lies north of Australia's Top End, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York peninsula, west of the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands Archipelago. Politically, the western half of the island comprises two provinces of Indonesia: Papua and West Papua.

The eastern half forms the mainland of the country of Papua New Guinea. The shape of New Guinea is compared to that of a bird-of-paradise, this results in the usual names for the two extremes of the island: the Bird's Head Peninsula in the northwest, the Bird's Tail Peninsula in the southeast. A spine of east–west mountains, the New Guinea Highlands, dominates the geography of New Guinea, stretching over 1,600 km from the'head' to the'tail' of the island, with many high mountains over 4,000 m; the western-half of the island of New Guinea contains the highest mountains in Oceania, rising up to 4,884 m high, higher than Mont Blanc in Europe, ensuring a steady supply of rain from the equatorial atmosphere. The tree line is around 4,000 m elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers—which have been retreating since at least 1936. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a warm humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.

The highest peaks on the island of New Guinea are: Puncak Jaya, sometimes known by its former Dutch name Carstensz Pyramid, is a mist-covered limestone mountain peak on the Indonesian side of the border. At 4,884 metres, Puncak Jaya makes New Guinea the world's fourth-highest landmass after Afro-Eurasia and Antarctica. Puncak Mandala located in Papua, is the second-highest peak on the island at 4,760 metres. Puncak Trikora in Papua, is 4,750 metres. Mount Wilhelm is the highest peak on the PNG side of the border at 4,509 metres, its granite peak is the highest point of the Bismarck Range. Mount Giluwe 4,368 metres is the second-highest summit in PNG, it is the highest volcanic peak in Oceania. Another major habitat feature is the vast northern lowlands. Stretching

Bernard Holden

Bernard Holden MBE was a twentieth century railway engineer and manager with Southern and British Railways and a founding father of standard gauge railway preservation in the United Kingdom. He was President of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex for over twenty years until his death. Bernard was born in the LBSCR railway station house at Barcombe in East Sussex on 15 March 1908 on a section of the Bluebell Line that no longer survives, he came from a family steeped in railway service as both his great grandfather and father Charles were railway men. His father was the station master at Barcombe. In 1912 his father moved to the busier Steyning Station in West Sussex and Holden attended Steyning Grammar School matriculating in 1925 before following in the family tradition and joining the Southern Railway as a ballast train clerk studying transport law and signalling. At the outbreak of the Second World War Bernard relocated to London where his duties included supervising the evacuation of children from London and from his Redhill base, the supervision of trains bringing back soldiers from Dunkerque in 1940.

During the London Blitz Holden organised for trains to keep running in circuitous routes as Luftwaffe bombing blocked numerous lines. In June 1941 he reported to Longmoor Military Railway and was posted to 191 Rail Operations Company Royal Engineers before being posted to South Africa and to Bengal where he worked on the logistics of supplying British troops in Burma who were fighting the Japanese, he was commissioned into the Indian Army and spent much of the war engaged in operating railways in northern India, carrying troops and supplies to the front. In July 1945 Holden served in 8 Indian Engineers Group, he entertained Vera Lynn before the Battle of Kohima in March 1944 becoming a lifelong friend of the singer. He was discharged from the army as a captain after VJ Day, he recounted his experiences of running railways during the war in a biography published in 2004. He resumed his civilian railway career and joined British Railways upon nationalisation in 1948, he retired in 1972. In 1958 Bernard Holden and four other enthusiasts launched the Bluebell Preservation Society, ostensibly to reopen as a heritage railway the closed railway-line between East Grinstead and Lewes.

John Leeroy was the first chairman of the Railway and Bernard was Signalling Engineer. Under his guidance the Bluebell Railway became the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world to operate a public service running its first services in August 1960, less than three years after the line from East Grinstead to Lewes had been closed by British Railways; as an active Superintendent of the Line and President of the Bluebell Society, Bernard Holden oversaw the retention and the expansion of the railway from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and in 1992 was appointed MBE for services to railway preservation. He was described as one of the greatest figures in the rail preservation movement of all time As President he witnessed the re-laying of track to a new terminus at East Grinstead, although he died a few months before official services were re-instated. Bernard Holden died aged 104 at Ditchling, East Sussex, on 4 October 2012, his funeral cortège included a nine-mile ride on the Bluebell Railway.

Bernard Holden, Let Smoke Make Steam - an account of managing the railways in Great Britain and India during World War II Holden and Vera Lynn on his 104th birthday Report from Daily Mail of funeral of Holden

Joe Overstreet

Joe Wesley Overstreet was an American painter from Mississippi who lived and worked in New York City for most of his career. In the 1950s and early 1960s he was associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, he became known for works such as Strange Fruit and The New Jemima, which reflected his interest in contemporary social issues and the Black Arts Movement, he worked with Amiri Baraka as the Art Director for the Black Arts Repertory Theatre and School in Harlem. In 1974 he co-founded an East Village gallery and studio. In the 1980s he returned to figuration with his Storyville paintings, which recall the New Orleans jazz scene of the early 1900s, his work draws on a variety of influences, including his own African-American heritage, has been exhibited in galleries around the world. Overstreet was born on June 1933 in Conehatta, Mississippi, he was the son of a mason and his wife, was exposed early to construction and architectural work. His hometown was rural and isolated, one of several communities, included in 1945 in a reservation for the federally recognized Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, who made up the majority of the population.

Overstreet's family had first settled here in 1830, had raised trees for wood pulp. Overstreet graduated from Oakland Technical High School in California, he joined the merchant marine. He attended the California School of Fine Arts in 1953 and California School of Arts and Crafts in 1954. In the 1950s Overstreet lived in the North Beach section of San Francisco, was a fixture of the Beat scene, he published a journal titled Beatitudes Magazine from his studio, was part of a collective of African-American artists. During the early 1950s he exhibited in galleries and jazz clubs throughout the Bay Area, along with young artists such as James Weeks, Nathan Oliveira, Richard Diebenkorn, his Grant Street studio was located near that of Sargent Johnson, a sculptor and painter who became a mentor. Johnson believed in the philosophy of Alain Locke, the so-called “father of the Harlem Renaissance” in New York, who advocated for African-American artists to draw from their ancestral legacy for aesthetic sources and inspiration.

From 1955 to 1957 Overstreet worked as an animation artist for Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles. In 1958, he moved to New York City with Beat poet Bob Kaufman, he designed displays for store windows to earn a living, set up an apartment / studio on 85th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. He got to know many of the Abstract Expressionist painters and felt his real art education came through his relationships with established artists, such as Romare Bearden, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Larry Rivers, Hale A. Woodruff, Hans Hofmann, he knew Hofmann's work from Berkeley. Overstreet said, “Looking at Hofmann reminded me of how I saw things and looking at Pollock reminded me of how I could do things naturally.” De Kooning gave Overstreet some of his works to sell so that the young painter could make it through difficult times. Overstreet identified with de Kooning's use of house painter's brushes, he began to feel comfortable using cement trowels to apply his paints, in such works as Big Black.

In 1962 Overstreet moved downtown and set up his studio at 76 Jefferson Street, in a loft building where jazz musician Eric Dolphy lived. From 1963 to 1973 he lived at 186 Bowery, he returned to the East Bay Area to teach at the University of California at Hayward, from 1970 to 1973. Upon his return to New York, Overstreet met Corrine Jennings. Together with her and Samuel C. Floyd, he established Kenkeleba House, a gallery, providing for lofts for artist studios at 214 East Second Street. Kenkeleba House, the sister gallery across the street, Wilmer Jennings, have presented innumerable exhibitions of work by artists of color and women, bringing attention to both under-recognized and emerging artists. Kenkeleba showed young artists who found acclaim—among them Keith Haring and David Hammons – and major historical exhibitions of work by important black painters such as Norman Lewis and Edward Mitchell Bannister. Overstreet's work of the late 1950s to the mid 1960s assimilates his interests in Abstract Expressionism and the painful realities of African-American history, in works such as The Hawk, For Horace Silver, Carry Back, Big Black, Janet.

His painting The New Jemima subverts the stereotypical black image of Aunt Jemima. Unlike the original character, a domestic servant who exists to please others, Overstreet's Jemima wields a machine gun. Overstreet recalls of this work: “Larry Rivers saw around 1970, he said that if I made it larger, he would include it in the Some American History exhibition at Rice University. So I made a kind of wooden armature so that the painting would resemble something like a pancake box. I enlarged it for this art project, part of the effort in 1971 to desegregate Rice University. Rice had a codicil that blacks could never attend that institution." In 1964, Overstreet began painting in acrylic, which dries faster. This allowed him to focus more on spatial problems; the painting Strange Fruit can be seen as a watershed work in terms of its organization and the use of rope, which recurs through the decades in his paintings, in various manifestations. The title Strange Fruit refers to the Billie Holiday rendition of Abel Meeropol's poem and song about lynchings, in which many black men were killed by hanging.

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