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Mum Shirl: Black Saint of Redfern

It is now 21 years since Mum Shirl died, and so a fitting time to celebrate an extraordinary life.

We have an exhibition wholly dedicated to Shirley Smith. It is the second exhibition dedicated to Mum Shirl. The first was back in 2000 when Bronwyn Bancroft, in collaboration with the Mum Shirl Tribute Working Group, curated Mum Shirl, the Sacred Trust of Memory: A Tribute Exhibition in Celebration of the Life of Shirley C. Smith, at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Annandale. Sixty-nine artists plus five architects contributed works that, through representations or in other ways, honoured qualities the artists saw as intrinsic to Mum Shirl.

Gordon Syron and Elaine Pelot-Syron, both contributors to the Tribute exhibition in 2000, continue to embody these qualities in their work. When Ted Kennedy gave one of the opening talks at the Tribute exhibition, he spoke of Shirley’s work in jails and concluded with a passionate plea for us all to ‘work towards the abolition of all jailing of Aborigines, and so lift an intolerable burden from their shoulders’. Although this bold claim may have fallen on deaf ears it remains the case that art exhibitions can refocus attention on difficult and urgent social values where other media cannot.

Official opening: Thursday 4 July, 6pm-8pm.



326 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia
Cooee Art Gallery


Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm

Thursday 4 July to Saturday 27 July 2019



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