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Urgent support needed to save The Syron's Keeping Place Collection from seizure and auction - 23 May 2011 Deadline

The Storage at Kennards for the Syron's Keeping Place Collection runs out on 23rd May 2011. If the Syron's can not find somewhere for the collection by then or pay for more storage the Keeping Place collection will be auctioned by Kennards to pay for the storage. An initial period of storage was paid for by the RWA as part of a settlement to move the collection out of the Wilson Street Parcel Shed. Below is a letter from Councillor Irene Doutney who is the spokesperson for the Keeping Place Committee.

Dear Clover, and fellow Councillors

It is with great concern that I am writing to you all about the future of the Syron’s Keeping Place collection which is currently in storage at Kennards Waterloo storage facility. The Redfern Waterloo Authority funded six months of storage for the Syrons at Kennards last year and that funding expires on May 23rd leaving the collection in grave danger of being seized by Kennards and put up for auction which is their policy if storage rental dates are not met.

The Syrons are personally having financial difficulties and are unable to meet the thousands of dollars in storage fees that will come due on that date. It would be a crime if this incredible collection is allowed to be taken by Kennards and sold off with no recompense coming back to the Syrons who would lose everything they have spent the last 30 years creating.

The core collection of over 547 paintings, (only 16 are Syron paintings) has been valued at over $1.5 million and the Syrons have desperately tried to keep it as one whole collection in the face of no ongoing support from the government or arts institutions.

The situation is desperate and Kennards have rejected all appeals for deferment of the fees. I am asking the Council members if there is any way we can help the Syrons at this late point in time by either providing free storage, purchasing one or two of the more important paintings such as that of Mum Shirl , purchasing some of Elaine’s historic photos or considering how we could use the collection in connection with our plans for a local Aboriginal Culture Centre.

I am also asking Council members if they can use their connections to help lobby the new Government (Arts, Indigenous Affairs and Tourism) and any potential philanthropists they may know who may be interested in providing storage, purchase or helping fulfill the Syron’s dream of creating an Aboriginal run Keeping Place/Cultural Centre in NSW.

I know that many of you know of the collection and some of you have visited the Keeping Place when it was in Redfern while others have known the Syrons for years and have been sympathetic to their guardianship of the Keeping Place in the past.

Time is of the utmost importance and if anyone can help us or offer any alternative suggestions it would be greatly appreciated. A solution must be found before the middle of May and I am at my wits end in knowing where to go or what to do next to stop what would be a disaster for the Syrons and for Aboriginal art and culture if the collection is seized by Kennards.

Hoping to hear from you soon

Irene Doutney

Greens Councillor

City of Sydney

Ph: 02 9265 9812