The Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency | Viscopy are at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair calling 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.
The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is full of fantastic art, crafts and merchandise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists have created. Consumers can buy these artworks with confidence and with the knowledge that the artworks are being sold ethically and are authentically made.
However if the same consumers were to go into town and into a shop marketed at tourists, it suddenly becomes very difficult to know what is real and what is fake ‘Indigenous’ artwork.
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.
The Fake Art Harms Culture campaign asks that the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) take action against the many businesses involved in producing, importing and selling fake goods in Australia, as well informing consumers of their ability to take action against this issue.
In addition, the Government should implement stronger and more effective laws to prohibit the marketing and sale of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and crafts products within Australia unless it is made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples (or licensed with their full authority, which is clearly documented).
For more information on this campaign please contact Gabrielle Sullivan, CEO of the Indigenous Art Code on 0438 637 862 or email [email protected] or Robyn Ayres, CEO of Arts Law Centre of Australia or email [email protected]