Save Black Fella’s Dreaming

The Blackfellas’ Dreaming Museum (and here) is a large and overwhelming testimony of Australian History through Aboriginal eyes. And it easily moves people.

Gathered by an Aboriginal man, Gordon Syron, an urban Aboriginal art pioneer, it is one of the largest Aboriginal owned collections that is not connected to any institution. The art works are currently being catalogued for a Bonhams & Goodmans auction with a date set for 9 May 2007. This collection should not be spilt up and sold off to private collectors overseas. It should be a National Treasure, placed safely in the hands of Aboriginal people and remain on public view.

The Save Black Fella’s Dreaming Campaign has been running for three months now and there are only a few days to go before the auction on Wed 9 May 2007! (See the petition here.)

The Koori Mail published an article on the auctioning of the Museum on 25 April, page 15. The Sydney Morning Herald also published an article by Paul Bibbi on 11 April, page 11. The 7.30 Report may air a story before the auction. The National Indigenous Times should be doing a follow up story on what happens at the auction and where the pieces will end up (hopefully in a museum in Redfern!)

It’s not too late to help!

Please email or write Frank Sartor to add your support to the following last minute letter from Clover Moore:

3 May 2007

The Hon. Frank Sartor MP
Minister for Arts
Level 34 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000

Dear Minister

URGENT – Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum

I write on behalf of Gordon and Elaine Syron to request your help to maintain their substantial art collection in public hands and public access.

Gordon and Elaine tell me that they have been unable to financially support this collection from their own resources as it increased in size over time. I understand that the collection includes some significant works by Indigenous artists including Gordon’s work, and reflects the progress of Aboriginal art in Australia.

The Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum collection includes:

  • A rare collection of traditional bark and dot paintings;
  • A collection of contemporary and political paintings on canvas and Belgian linen; and
  • A large collection of carvings and sculptures from all over Australia.

I understand that the collection is to be auctioned on 9 May by Bonhams and Goodman’s Auction Rooms.

Could you please urgently review help to maintain this collection as a whole, in public hands and on public view, and inform me what action you have taken?

Yours sincerely

Clover Moore
Member for Sydney

Comments from the Save Black Fella’s Dreaming Petition

"The time has come, to say fair’s fair"
Aku Kadogo, Director, Black Theatre Program, Wayne State University,
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
"I truly believe we need to keep this museum open for all to see. I support you 1000000000000000+ %".
Sharon Taylor, Indigenous Early Education Person.

"You have My support for Black fella Dreaming."
Darren Cooper Of Cooperskooricreations!

"This concerns me deeply as it reminds me of the tragedy of the Carrolup collection of artworks prepared by stolen children in WA and I believe the Syron collection should remain under Indigenous guardianship." Aina Ranke, Deeply Concerned Citizen

"Good luck….the spirits may come alive and work in elaine and gordon’s favour….crossing all fingers." Karla Dickens, Aboriginal Artist

"The Blackfellas Dreaming Museum is a very unique collection, lovingly collected from all parts of the country and as such is reflective of not just one indigenous group, but many. It’s an important collection that needs our support so it can survive for future generations of all Australians to experience and to enjoy."
Sienna Brown , Producer, Pine Street Films, Sydney, Australia.

"I have visited the Museum in Bangalow on a number of occasions and
found it a unique, and fascinating record of art and artifacts that
illustrate usual aspects of modern aboriginal culture and presents an
important perspective on the tension between aboriginal and white
australian cultures."
Dudley Leggett, Chairman of Directors,
Sustainability Research Institute, Australia.

"And in the face of Climate Change…a little bit more of an Indigenous world view will go a long long way. This collection is about connection to land and Survival!"
Tania Syron, Save Black Fella’s Dreaming Campaign Co-ordinator.

"I really hope you are able to save the museum as it should be an Aboriginal icon."
Graham Storey, passionate art lover and regular viewer of the Black Fella’s Dreaming website.

"I support the museum, our heritage should not be sold off."
Jenny Campbell, Aboriginal Education Worker

"BFD had been around for many years before I stumbled upon it. I was fortunate enough to be part of the creation of it’s Bangalow Museum/Gallery in 2004. The process of creating a space to display and appreciate all of these amazing historical moments was one of the most enjoyable I have ever had. The people involved were filled with so much commitment and love towards the collection, and this emanated throughout the ‘shed’ and poured into the people who came to it, and those who they then spoke to about it, and so on. It is the most ‘real’ experience I as a white fella have had with the artistic expression (contemporary and traditional) of Indigenous Australians. This place is important and has got to stay!"
Irene Perkoulidis, RMIT student, Victoria

I am writing in support of "Black Fellas Dreaming Museum". An establishment like this is important for so many reasons – for art, for culture, and for the dream that the true history of this land will one day become a normal part of everyone’s lives. Honesty creates peace, honesty allows for true justice and honesty will allow for looking after this land the way it deserves to be.
Mark Gerada, Artist, Chippendale NSW

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