The Australian people have taken so much culture from us, Aboriginal people that soon there will be none left to take.
Howard refuses to say SORRY because he is not genuinely SORRY.
He and his government have been sitting on 12 long years of reports.
All Howard cares about is getting control OVER ALL ABORIGINAL LAND.
Do you think that Bennelong was angry? Yes, he was angry and they didn't even tell him that they were going to take all the LAND and then in the year of 1967, well the Australian people voted to make him a citizen in his own LAND.
Aboriginal people get shuffled to the bottom of the deck all the time. Why can't there be an Aboriginal statue by an Aboriginal sculptor near Bennelong Point, say in Elizabeth Bay Park which is being re-developed right now????
I saw books for sale at auctions that tell a different history to the one taught to me at school. Why can't these early books be in a whole library in every school?
They tell about the way the LAND was taken and the severe and horrible way that Aboriginal people were treated. Unless people know the truth about Terra Nullius and the settlement of this continent by modern man, they will never change their stereo-typed views. This early history needs to be available to Aboriginal people and Australians generally so that we can fit into this urban society and feel good about our history.
I had a dream that I did not have to sell my paintings so cheap to collectors, to gallery owners, to the white boss.
JUDGEMENT BY HIS PEERS is "The Real Australian Story". I painted this in 1978 while serving a life sentence in prison. I believe I would not have been sentenced at all, had I been judged by an Aboriginal jury.
In British law each man is judged by his "peers". When I asked to have one or more Aboriginal people on the jury well one lawyer said, I wasn't black enough to be black, and another lawyer said, I wasn't white enough to be white. This was so disrespectful to my family, especially to my 2 Aboriginal Grandmothers. So now when someone says to me, "You don't look white, or you don't look black", I just say "are you calling me a half a WOG, are you????"
JUDGEMENT BY HIS PEERS, oil on canvas, painted in year 1978 is for sale now on my Web Site. I had a dream to keep my best paintings, then somehow I couldn't stand to sell other Black Fella’s paintings cheaply in my gallery and I tried to keep the best of their work and it turned into Black Fella's Dreaming Museum. The name is Black Fella's Dreaming = one Black fella, me. It was my dream.
Well my gallery and my museum was a financial failure. So now I am selling the most precious artwork of my museum, JUDGEMENT BY HIS PEERS.
In 1995, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Robert Tickner called JUDGEMENT BY HIS PEERS, a national icon. I have this in writing.
I need a studio, a place to paint, I need to pass on my dreams to the next generation, to fight for our basic rights to have our true history told, to have a free-standing museum, with real history books and artworks that has a lot of Aboriginal curators, Aboriginal storytellers, Aboriginal dancers and Aboriginal security guards, and a whole lot of trainees coming through graduating from our programs, a job for every Aboriginal that wants a job.
If the Iraq War never happened well think how much money could have been put
into supporting the arts in this country.
If I am successful and sell JUDGEMENT BY HIS PEERS then I will create an Artists & Writers Retreat out of my home and large shed on 10 acres on Magnetic Island, Qld. Artists and writers need support so it will not just be for Aboriginal people, so it will be multi-cultural.
I hope it will be a place where Aboriginal people can have a lot of jobs and be able to exchange ideas and techniques. Where we can have a bush boxing ring, and families are welcome. Magnetic Island is the next island to Palm Island. Some of my paintings are about Redfern, a link from the country to the city. Redfern is a stepping-stone for THE DREAMING MAN, about an Aboriginal man that comes to Redfern "the big Smoke" from the bush to look for a job. He is surprised that Redfern is not as nice as the place he is from and there are no jobs, no money to get back home. His chances of being stranded, on alcohol, drugs or the police is great. He dreams of London or New York. But most of all he dreams of home. He is stuck and cannot get anywhere.
Well that is me, a self-portrait except now I have been invited to exhibit my paintings in Paris in Sept - and in Dubai in Oct.of this year, 2007.
I paint about Aboriginal history and the black/white relationship. What causes Aboriginal Deaths in Custody? Why are the jails full of Aboriginal men and women? Why are Aboriginal people so angry? Some jails are more than 50% Aboriginal, yet Aboriginals are only 1 or 2% of the population.
Through my paintbrush, I can tell stories. Titles like:
THE POISONING OF THE WATERHOLES OF AUSTRALIA
IT'S A WHITE MAN'S WORLD
EVELEIGH ST I, II, III
THE GENDER OF GOD
The DEATH OF NITA BLANKETT
PROTEST AT OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE
THE BLACK BASTARDS ARE COMING
A TOAST TO THE FEDERATION 2000, THE SUCCESSFUL TAKING OF THE LAND BY QUEEN ELIZABETH & PRIME MINISTER HOWARD
WHERE THE WILDFLOWERS ONCE GREW
HERE COMES THE JUDGE
ABORIGINAL FAIRIES FOR ABORIGINAL KIDS
The 2 paintings of mine at the Bejing Olympics are titled TERROR NULLIUS & INVASION DAY
I paint portraits of the EMU.
The Emu is very special to Aboriginal people. I found Bill Harney, an Aboriginal author and storyteller in Katharine, Northern Territory and he told me about other names Aboriginal people call Emus. One was FEATHERFOOT and I also remember my Grandmother's stories ABOUT the FEATHERFOOT. It was about an emu that could change and was very clever like a CLEVERFOOT. These emus carried messages and warnings. Gadachi Men are very wise and cover their tracks. They wear emu feathers on their feet. The male emu sits on the eggs and then raises the young while the female goes off to breed again. In times of drought they drop their eggs and do not hatch them. The emu has been pushed back away from where the urban centres are just like the Aboriginal people. The emus had to live and survive with the invader. ...I just don't paint dots and I don't feel comfortable with it. My paintings are urban or contemporary as they tell the true stories what is happening and what I remember about the past.
As an Aboriginal artist, I feel a responsibility to paint the truth and these paintings reflect the society I live in. LIVING WITH THE INVADER is an urban problem that Aboriginal people had to deal with and cope with. LIVING WITH THE INVADER is now, living with turning on the news and listening to our Prime Minister invading our Aboriginal communities. Every time I listen to the news I feel like re-writing this speech. LIVING WITH THE INVADER is something that all of Australia needs to come to grips with.
We still have a long way to go. Urban Aboriginal Artists are at the forefront to expose the continuing plan to usurp our culture, to take our LAND.
So hopefully through our ART then OUR STORIES and our VOICES will be heard.
Thank you for inviting me and listening to me.
Gordon Frederick Syron