Gordon’s Story

Introduction

“I had a dream while in prison to keep the best of my artworks… my dream then grew to keep the best of other Aboriginal artists.”

“The Keeping Place is not connected with any institution and we have never received a grant.”

“The Keeping Place Art Collection is priceless to me and is a living testimony to the injustices and ongoing devastation of Aboriginal people, past and present. These artworks cry out for a benefactor to rescue these remaining stories of massacres and heritage installations. They took our land without asking; now they want our culture, our heritage is threatened by souvenir shops, and even tax-free Aboriginal art is sold by foreigners and made by foreigners.”

“White fellas have lots of Keeping Places all over this country, all we want is this one Keeping Place for Indigenous art.

Profile

Father’s country:               Worimi
Land Mother’s country:  Biripi
Language:                             Ghattang

Gordon is a well-known Aboriginal artist and a dedicated and determined supporter of Aboriginal culture.

Gordon Syron #122
Artist Gordon Syron. This painting was done from memory of the wild flowers that grew so tall and abundantly in his country, near Minimbah and along the Coolongolook River, on the mid-north coast of NSW near Forster/Tuncurry. Catalogue #122 in the Keeping Place Collection.

Described as a “pioneer of urban and contemporary Aboriginal art in Australia”, Gordon’s work has won the University of NSW College of Fine Art Professional (COFA) 2009 prize.  He has been nominated for an Adjunct Professorship of Indigenous Art at the University of Technology, Sydney.

His works are displayed internationally and permanently in multiple Australian museums, including the National Museum of Australia in Canberra and the Museum of Sydney.  At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Gordon’s works were exhibited at the Australian Pavilions.

Gordon’s Dream

This unique collection of Indigenous art began over 40 years ago as a dream.  The first thoughts about a Keeping Place occurred years before the label of “keeping place” was ever applied to a physical collection of paintings, sculpture, photography and cultural artefacts.        

“I had a dream while in prison to keep the best of my artworks… My dream then grew to keep the best of other Aboriginal artists.”

“The Keeping Place is not connected with any institution and we have never received a grant. This collection is priceless to me and is a living testimony to the injustices and ongoing devastation of Aboriginal people, past and present. These artworks cry out for a benefactor to rescue these remaining stories of massacres and heritage installations. They took our land without asking, now they want our culture, our heritage is threatened by souvenir shops, and even tax-free Aboriginal art is sold by foreigners and made by foreigners.”

“White fellas have lots of Keeping Places all over this country, all we want is this one Keeping Place.”

1031

What is the Keeping Place Art Collection? 

Gordon Syron began painting in 1972.

The Keeping Place Art Collection started to be assembled in 1972. The original name given to the collection was Black Fella’s Dreaming. This is the remarkable story behind one of the largest collection of Aboriginal art put together by an individual, who is also happens to be an Aboriginal artist himself.

It is the story of a loose cultural movement started in the 1970s by a group of contemporary Aboriginal artists including Gordon Syron, a pioneer of Urban Aboriginal Art. Using their art as a means of expression, they engaged actively in a quest to make it possible for Aboriginal people to record their own culture.

Since its creation the Collection has been housed, in part or completely, at many locations in QLD, NSW and now ACT, including Darlinghurst, Magnetic Island, Katoomba, Bangalow, Redfern, Minto, Greenwich, Mosman, Middle Head, Eastwood, Rosebery, Leichhardt, Woolloomooloo and Canberra.

The Keeping Place Art Collection now contains the work of over 400 Aboriginal artists, which makes it a unique record of contemporary Aboriginal art created by them since 1972.

A limited number of works are on extended loan to major supporters at NSW Parliament House, and the Arts Law Centre in Sydney, the boardrooms of businesses owned by major supporters, some of whom are Aboriginals, and with private individuals. We acknowledge their long-term support for the vision of the Keeping Place.

At December 2016 the Keeping Place Art Collection is still owned privately by Gordon + Elaine Syron.  Most of the collection is now securely stored in Canberra.  A sub-set of the Keeping Place Collection is to have a permanent home at Ivanhoe in western NSW. Supporters and Patrons of the Keeping Place project are considering options for the majority of the Keeping Place Collection to have a permanent home in Canberra

 

History of Keeping Place

In 1998 the Black Fella Dreaming Aboriginal Art Gallery opened in 239 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

In 2002 Chicka Dixon officially opened Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum in at the same location.  There was a smoking ceremony and a black fellas’ urban corroboree on the street, opposite Darlinghurst High Court where Gordon Syron was tried for murder in 1972.  4 generations of Chicka Dixon’s family danced and played  music during the Opening.

In February 2010, The Keeping Place 1972-2010 exhibition opened at the Australian Museum in Sydney, the third exhibition held by the museum of the Collection’s works since 1998.  This exhibition was curated by Sheryl Connors-Young.

Hear what the Patron the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG said at the opening of the exhibition:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_5KYVT-jg

With the Collection’s national acclaim and diversity, it is not surprising that museums of the calibre of the Australian Museum, Sydney, would exhibit works from the Collection.

Highly regarded museums have purchased works from the Keeping Place Collection, including the Museum of Sydney in Bridge Street, the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, and the National Australia Museum in Canberra.

Other exhibitions were held at University of California and Flinders University.  This latter exhibition led to the purchase of a major work by Flinders University.


What is the Keeping Place Art Collection? 

Gordon Syron began painting in 1972.

The Collection started to be assembled in 1972. The original name given to the collection was Black Fella’s Dreaming – the story behind the largest collection of Aboriginal art put together by an Aboriginal curator.

It is the story of a loose cultural movement started in the 1970s by a group of contemporary Aboriginal artists including Gordon Syron, one of the pioneers of modern urban Aboriginal art. Using their art as a means of expression, they engaged actively in a quest to make it possible for Aboriginal people to record their own culture.

At the start of 2015 the Keeping Place Art Collection is owned privately by Gordon and Elaine Syron.

Since its creation the Collection has been housed at a number of locations in QLD NSW, including Darlinghurst, Magnetic Island, Bangalow, Redfern and Minto. Most of the collection is currently in private storage.

The Keeping Place Art Collection now contains the work of over 400 Aboriginal artists, which makes it a unique record of contemporary Aboriginal art created by them since 1972.

A limited number of works are on extended loan to major supporters at NSW Parliament, and Arts Law Centre in Sydney and with private individuals, in acknowledgement of their long-term support for the vision of the Keeping Place.

 


John Young
Director Strategy
Keeping Place Project
0407 940 943
yindi1951@gmail.com

25-aug-2017

Leave a Reply