The Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency | Viscopy launched the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign at the 2016 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. We called for the Government to tackle the problem of fake ‘Indigenous’ arts and craft being sold in Australia, harming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and incomes.
How does fake art harm culture?
We estimate that around 80% of the products available in shops is inauthentic. The abundance of fake or inauthentic ‘Aboriginal-style’ arts and crafts available in Australian tourism shops causes harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as it misappropriates and exploits the stories, imagery, knowledge and heritage embodied in authentic works.
It also destroys the income streams that could be earned from selling genuine arts and craft works to the many consumers wanting to connect with Indigenous Australia.
This means artists are cheated, buyers are cheated and Australia as a country is cheated.
Inquiry into presence of inauthentic art
Federal MP Bob Katter joined our campaign, introducing a private member's bill in early 2017 to stop the sale of fake art. In August 2017 the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs established an inquiry into the growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 'style' art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia.
Terms of Reference
The terms of reference for the inquiry are:
Inquire into and report on the growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘style’ art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia, including:
- the definition of authentic art and craft products and merchandise;
- current laws and licensing arrangements for the production, distribution, selling and reselling of authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and craft products and merchandise;
- an examination of the prevalence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘style’ art and craft products and merchandise in the market;
- options to promote the authentic products for the benefit of artists and consumers; and
- options to restrict the prevalence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘style’ art and craft products and merchandise in the market.
What can I do to help?
Make a submission to the House of Representatives inquiry! Submissions are open until Friday 3 November 2017. You can read more and make a submission at: www.aph.gov.au/inauthenticart
Email your member of parliament! You can contact your Senator or Member and tell them your concerns about this issue.
Donate to Arts Law! Every donation allows us to dedicate much needed resources towards the campaign.
- BBC News, 'Australian artists call for ban on fake Aboriginal art' video by Hywel Griffith and Andrew Kilrain
- The Guardian, Australia's fake art and tourist tack: Indigenous artists fight back by Helen Davidson
- ABC News, 'Indigenous artists battle mass-produced fakes, call for protection for their intellectual property' by Neda Vanovac
- ABC News, ‘Bob Katter plans legislation to stop sale of fake Indigenous art’, by Casey Briggs
- SBS News, ‘MP plans to curb fake Aboriginal art sales’, Source: AAP
- ABC News, ‘Indigenous art: How fake works disrupt the market and disempower local artists’ by Rico Adjrun
- NITV, ‘Calls for a crackdown on ‘knockoff’ Aboriginal souvenirs made in China and Bali’ by James Elton-Pym
- Arts Hub, ‘War declared on fake Indigenous art’ by Gina Fairley
- The Point with Stan Grant, television segment, https://www.facebook.com/NITVAustralia/videos/10153883213542005/?permPage=1