Artists in the Black, a critical service providing legal advice and support to Indigenous artists across Australia can continue thanks to funding from the Australian Federal Government. Last week the Federal Government announced that it would be providing $240,000 towards the Artists in the Black service, recognising its unique and important nature. This funding support will ensure the continuation of this service.
Artists in the Black was established in 2004 by the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law), Australia’s independent national community legal centre for the arts. It supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, organisations and communities through free, specialised culturally appropriate legal and business resource, assistance and education. This service helps these artists to protect their creative work, their intellectual property and their cultural heritage.It has also assisted hundreds of artists make wills.
A key part of the Artists in the Black service is visiting remote and regional communities to deliver this assistance face-to-face. This method of delivery gives artists from these communities, who often suffer significant disadvantage, access to legal and business resources that they would normally not be able to access. It also helps to embed skills and knowledge in Indigenous communities across the country. In a visit to the Ampilatwatja Artists, in remote Northern Territory, the Artists in the Black service assisted the artists of this community to get paid for their artworks which were sold by a London Gallery, also getting the unsold works returned when the gallery had been refusing to do so.
This funding from the Federal Government means that this necessary outreach program can be sustained. Gabrielle Sullivan of Martumili Artists, a centre that works closely with Artists in the Black, said of this news that they are “relived and excited knowing our relationship with Arts Law will continue into the future. Arts Law operates with integrity, understanding and gets stuff done on the ground in remote communities. Where there’s a will there’s a way. ”
Robyn Ayres, Executive Director of Arts Law, said “Artists in the Black is a critical service supporting Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists across the country. We have worked extensively with artists in regional and remote communities, helping to ensure they are properly paid for their work. Arts Law has received valuable support from the Federal Government for a number of years either through direct funding for specific projects such as Artists in the Black and through the Australia Council. We are pleased that the Federal Government understands the value of the work and has enabled it to continue.”