Fremantle – The sad day an aboriginal art shop was forced to close
Racists and idiots can be found the whole world over, and this sad fact proved true during a visit to Fremantle in the summer of 2008.
Before anyone thinks I’m applying those terms to all people in either Fremantle, Perth or the whole of Australia, please let me assure you this is far from the case.
During our time in Perth, Michelle and I found it to be one of the most welcoming cities we have visited.
We have both been to Australia more than once, on our own as well as together, and can honestly say it is one of our favourite places, filled with some of the best people you could ever meet.
But sadly, every place in the world has its own pond-life and we were unfortunate enough to find out about the activities of some of Fremantle’s.
While in the city we discovered a wonderful shop full of Aboriginal paintings.
These incredible pieces of art were stunning and, after a chat with the shop owner, we were shocked to find out that many of them had been painted by Aboriginal prisoners.
I think it is fair to say that, faced with the modern world, not all of Australia’s Aboriginals have adjusted well.
Some have turned to drink and crime after the traditional life their fore-fathers lived has been taken from them.
Without dwelling too much on a complicated and multifaceted issue, what was happening at this shop in Fremantle was completely wrong.
Local Australians, angry that the shop was selling Aboriginal art and, more to the point, art produced by prisoners, had taken to vandalising the front of the shop, smashing windows and attempting to break in.
It had reached the stage where the owner couldn’t take anymore. He was packing up, selling his stock and closing the shop.
The yobs and vandals had won.
It was such a shame to hear that this art – which had clearly given the prisoners who produced it some kind of purpose – wouldn’t be sold in the future.
We questioned if the prisoners would still be able to pursue their new task, but the shop owner didn’t know.
We bought two paintings from the shop and they now hang proudly in our kitchen and front room.
I hope that in some small way our purchases helped those trying to bring about change in people’s lives to triumph against the racists and idiots that blight all our lives.