Opening 17th July at 1pm at the Downing Centre is Dancing at Dawn a selection of works by Elaine and Gordon Syron. The exhibition has been curated by Brad Webb and celebrates NAIDOC week.
The works on display include a selection of photographs from 38 years of NAISDA and Bangarra, alongside Gordon Syron’s Aboriginal Fairies Archive and dot painting artworks by various Aboriginal artists from the collections of the Justice Department.
Elaine Syron’s photographs tell a visual story of how Bangarra came from NAISDA and visually show why it is such an important professional school of dance. Carole Johnson began the Aboriginal & Islander Dance Theatre ‘AIDT’ in 1976 and then NAISDA grew out of AIDT. From NAISDA Bangarra was born.
In 2002 Gordon Syron’s Aboriginal Fairies was first exhibited at Black Fella’s Dreaming Museum & Art Gallery. The curator was Eric Nair. Natalie Ahmat made a report for the ABC. This was followed by a documentary titled ‘Aboriginal Fairies’ shown on Message Stick narrated by Rachel Maza. Syron donated the huge painting which was full of Aboriginal Fairies to the ABC and it hangs there in the ABC Foyer to this day with a small sign by Gordon Syron. Once Syron was asked why he painted black fairies;
‘When I grew up I remember reading and seeing pictures of white fairies but I never saw any black fairies so I created a forest where Aboriginal Fairies live. I dreamed up these Aboriginal Fairies for Aboriginal Kids.’
This is the first time in 15 years that the black fairy archive will be shown. Syron has added to this archive over the years with angels and other fantasies.
Stephen Page dancing in the first “Ochres” Bangarra over 20 years ago, from Elaine Pelot Syron’s photo archive.