About "Mr Sandman Bring me a Dream" - Andrew CROCKER @ Papunya Tula
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November 2009 - Looking for people to help me administer and promote this group, any takers if so drop me a line
Andrew Gaubert CROCKER (1945, England - 1988 Namibia) was an English-born son of An Anglo-Irish, Sandhurst-educated Army Major and a Russian-born lady with claims of apocryphal links to the Russian Imperial family.
Andrew was educated at Downside Abbey School www.downside.co.uk/ and Jesus College Camridge, where he read Classics: www.jesus.cam.ac.uk/
At Jesus he was one of the youngest undergraduates and he took his BA aged only 19. Subsequently Crocker qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Barrister, but pursued neither of these professions. Instead he was involved briefly y in minor-scale family farming (at South Petherton fruit farm) in Somerset, Southwest England.
However Andrew's restless character and broader interests prompted him to emigrate to Australia where he bought land: this he used as a means of settling roots, as much as a basis for obtaining more quickly Australian citizenship: this status was important for him in Australia, as he was swimming against the tide and the accepted political wisdom at a time when championing Aborigenal identity and interests was "not done" - cleraly Andrew might have run the real risk of becoming an "undesirable alien" for stiring trouble and being packed off to England - his home country, where he still kept a farm.
In his adoptive country Andrew Crocker struck the image of a somewhat quixotic Englishman an identity which he carefully jetissoned to a fine degree. In England he was a life Member of Queen's Tennis Club, where the Annual tournament is held before Wimbledon: here are the 'Stella Artois grass courts"
When he was not farming in Somerset, he played "Real tennis" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_tennis
Andrew was lucky enough to llive off an unearned income from a family Trust originally set up by his Anglo-Irish ancestors with roots in County Londonderry. This allowed him the benefit from a certain freedom of movement and final dedication to the Aborigenies and especially the Aborigenal Art of Australia's bushmen. During the late 1970's early 1980's such beginnings were not easy at all, for Andrew's voice was a solitary one and the Aborigines were yet to receive some legitimacy from the Australian establishment and their Art to gain national and international recognition.
In this latter respect Andrew's intuition doubled by imagination, hard work and relentless effort in public relations eventually paid off, when he managed to interest Mr. Holmes a Court, the Australian businessman, to buy a whole collection of 27 paintings of aborigenal art:
After assisting Nugget Coombes in the mid-70s on Aboriginal affairs, Andrew was appointed art advisor in 1980 to the Aboriginal company, Papunya Tula. In this role he oversaw the consolidation of the company as one of the most successful Aboriginal-owned enterprises. By convincing both Australians and international art intellectuals to widen their perspectives of Western contemporary art to embrace the art of all cultures, he was instrumental in taking contemporary Aboriginal art out of the tourist shops and into art galleries.
Papunya Tula, in NW Australia, is situated some 250 Km West of Alice Springs:
At his own initiative and partly with his personal funding Crocker organised the first exhibition of Australian Aborigenal Art , ever to be shown abroad, in Paris London and California. This represented the traveling exhibition of the work of Charlie Tjaruru Tjungurrayi, from Kintore in Central Australia.
The name of this Flickr group is taken from Andrew's catalogue:
"Mr Sandman bring me a dream" with by photography: Diana Calder, Andrew Crocker, Rupert Ridgeway. - Alice Springs : Papunya Tula Artists Pty ; Sydney : The Aborigenal Artists Agency, (c1981. - 64 p. : ill. ; 28 cm ISBN 0908235011)
Andrew died young, being thye victim of a bomb at a hotel bar in Namibia, where he was staying and to this day this murky business has not been elucidated: he was, at the time of Apartheid intending to meet with some Namibian independentists - something which the SA secret services were not viewing with great favour.
Andrew's remains were flown to Britain by the Australian Governemnt for a family burial in his Somerset home village, Kingsbury Episcopi, not far from his South Petherton Fruit Farm.
Crocker's obituary appeared in the Guardian (London), in the "Aboriginal Law Bulletin www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AboriginalLB/1988/46.html
and other periodicals. He had a short but significant life whose legacy is still treasured today.
If you have any pictures from Australia connected with the museums, collections, exhibition catalogues and artist, colleagues and friends connected with Andrew, as well as portraits of his contemporaries and friends together with any paintings of Aborigenal art you are most welcome to submit to the Group and to invite other fcontacts to do so.
To start with here are a few pictures from places connected with Andrew Crocker's life in England.
Andrew Crocker: "Contemporary Art of the Western Desert"
(Keywords: Tjungurrayi, Tjapaltjarri, Tjampitjinpa.).
Andrew Crocker: "Mr Sandman, bring me a dream"
Papunya Tula at Holmes a Court :
Obituary (Aboriginal law Bulletin):
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