William Cooper painting presented to Sydney Jewish Museum

December 20, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In recognition of Aboriginal leader and humanitarian William Cooper’s march to the German Consulate in Melbourne on December 6, 1938, to present a petition protesting the German treatment of Jews, December 2019 has seen a myriad of activities in Melbourne and Sydney honouring his memory and brave deeds.

Rob Schneider, Stewart Levitt and Geoff Todd     Photo: supplied

As part of a $6million grant from the Federal government, the Perth Jewish Centre will be revamped to include a William Cooper Memorial.

The Clare Gallery in Sydney’s Double Bay hosted a gathering this week to mark the handover to the Sydney Jewish Museum of a painting by well-known Victorian artist Geoff Todd who himself spent many years in the area where William Cooper grew up.

The painting, entitled “River”  depicts an image of William Cooper with a river appearing to flow from his tie. According to the artist, the river symbolises the area where William Cooper grew up along the Murray and Goulburn rivers but the Magen David and floating bodies seen in the river symbolise the murder of Jews by the Nazis and the dumping of their bodies in rivers in Europe.

This painting features in a book of poetry  “Too Soon to Be Late” by Sydney lawyer, Stewart Levitt who himself has been a fighter for the rights of the Aboriginal People. The original painting was given to Stewart by the artist and on the recommendation of Rob Schneider, a Sydney communal leader and William Cooper activist, Stewart and his daughter Dana, the principal of the Clare Gallery, agreed to donate the painting to the Sydney Jewish Museum. The guests were welcomed to the event by Stewart Levitt who read out a poem he had written in tribute to William Cooper.

Rob Schneider spoke about William Cooper following which the painting was presented to Museum CEO Norman Seligman.


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