The Solid Arts project formally concluded in 2012, but all the resources developed as part of Solid Arts are available through our Artists in the Black program.
Solid Arts Update
The past few months have been a busy and exciting time for Solid Arts, a project funded by the Cultural Ministers Council, which is focused around creating a suite of resources on Indigenous Intellectual Property. The project has two main aims: firstly, to make arts-specific legal information more accessible to Indigenous artists and secondly, to increase awareness about Indigenous Intellectual Property amongst the general community, and consumers and commercial operators of Indigenous art. Stage Two of the project has seen the development and dissemination of a range of new materials directed at meeting these objectives.
Indigenous Australians' culture and artistic practice is a highly regarded and much publicised feature of Australian society. Despite this, many “Indigenous-style” souvenirs such as boomerangs and other artefacts, which are not made by Indigenous people, are being imported into Australia from China and South East Asian countries. Indigenous art is an important part of Indigenous peoples’ heritage and hence these cheap imports can be deeply offensive to Indigenous artists. Furthermore, all artists have the right to economic benefits from their work. Buying fake Indigenous artwork takes an opportunity away from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist to financially benefit from their cultural expression.
As part of the Solid Arts project, Arts Law launched an Avant Card postcard campaign aimed at increasing consumer and community awareness around these issues. The image featured on the postcard Not Made in Australia, was created by Aboriginal Artist Leonard Andy, who works at the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre in Cardwell. The postcard has been distributed nationwide as part of a campaign to help inform people about how to buy authentic Indigenous art the right way. As Andy has said, “Everybody knows that a Boomerang represents Aboriginal culture, and most imported goods come in shipping containers, so I combined the two.”
Originally the total number of postcards to be distributed was 20,000. However, Avant Card printed an additional 20,000 cards for Arts Law for no cost, making the total distribution of approximately 40,000 cards. The postcard campaign was extremely well received and has been featured in a number of media outlets including ABC Radio, the Koori Mail and the NSW Law Society Journal. Arts Law hopes to produce a similar campaign in the near future.
The Solid Arts on Air CD was officially launched at Arts Law's annual Pro Bono awards night, held in March 2012. The Solid Arts on Air CD contains audio recordings in seven different Indigenous languages – Arrente, Pitjantjatjara, Titi, Torres Strait Islander Kriol, West Kriol, Warlpiri and Yolngu Matha. The information on the CD covers a broad range of arts-specific legal information, including information about moral rights, copyright and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. The CD was launched in conjunction with Arts Law's AITB on Air CD, which covers the same information in English and was generously funded by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW.
At the start of the year, the Solid Arts on Air CD was disseminated to community and Aboriginal radio stations around Australia. While Arts Law is aware that it was not possible to cover all language groups with the audio recordings, the CD has received many positive responses. For instance one community radio station now features the audio recordings weekly in their Arts-related program, alternating the language featured each week.
Last year, Arts Law engaged Indigenous filmmaker Pauline Clague to produce a series of short films as part of the Solid Arts project. These films feature a number of case studies that illustrate common intellectual property issues faced by Indigenous artists and highlight success stories where individuals have managed these legal issues effectively.
You can now view a number of these video case studies online:
- Yuta Badayala (In a New Light) – Sasha Titchkosky, a director of Koskela, discusses the processes involved in establishing a collaborative project with Elcho Island (Galiwinku) artists.
- Ilbijerri Protocols – Rachael Maza, actress and artistic director of Ilbijerri Theatre Company, discusses protocols for developing scripts and performance for Indigenous theatre.
- Ilbijerri Story – Actress and director Rachael Maza talks about Ilbijerri theatre and the potential complexity sometimes involved in negotiating a fair contract with artists involved in the production of a performance work.
- Mandy Davis – Artist Mandy Davis talks about her experience of copyright and moral rights infringement in her work.
- Resale Royalties –Patricia Adjei discusses information relating to theResale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act (2009) that was introduced in 2010, including what this law means for Indigenous artists and the art trade.
- Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route – These videos discuss a number of legal issues involved with a large collaborative project like Yiwarra Kuju, including ICIP, Moral Rights, Copyright and Licensing.
In the next few months a number of additional videos will also be made available online and the short films will be compiled onto a DVD to be distributed as an educational tool.