Dream-time becomes a reality for artist
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
SOME artists start their careers doodling at art school: Gordon Syron started his in a prison cell being taught by a convicted art forger. Mr Syron spent a decade in prison after killing a man in a traditional Aboriginal pay-back. "I wouldn't encourage my own sons to do a pay-back ? no ? there are other ways (of defending land rights)," My Syron said. In prison, Mr Syron learnt that art was another, very powerful way of defending his indigenous culture. Thirty years later, he is recognised as a prominent Aboriginal artist, known as the 'father of urban Aboriginal contemporary art'. "All artists can paint portraits and landscapes, but I paint in an Aboriginal style about social change," Mr Syron said. Dots don't feature in Mr Syron's work, but satirical role-reversals between black and white people do. One of his first major political works, Judged By His Peers, depicts a white man in court surrounded by a black judge and jury. He later became the Assistant Secretary of the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee. Mr Syron's extraordinary journey from telephone linesman, to pris- on to internationally-renowned artist, who recently exhibited at the Olympiad exhibition in Athens, will be soon told in an SBS documentary, and in a book by Aboriginal art expert Dr Vivienne Johnston. However, Northern Rivers locals don't need to wait that long. They can visit Gordon and his partner, documentary photographer Elaine Pelot, now that they have opened the doors on the Black Fella's Dreaming gallery and museum in Station Street, Bangalow, showcasing decades of collected Indigenous art. The gallery features works by traditional and contemporary Aboriginal artists, including Michael Nelson Jagamarra, Clifford Possum and Emily Kngwarreye. All works come directly from the Aboriginal artists, with 70 per cent of sale proceeds paid to the artists.