What is an Indigenous Art Centre?
Art Centres are places of artistic and cultural expression, provide economic, employment and training opportunities, support the maintenance and transference of culture and create wellbeing and community pride.
Art Centres are community organisations, owned and governed by Indigenous people. As non-profit cooperatives, Art Centres operate on a social enterprise economic model, whereby the maximum financial return of art sales is paid to artists with the remainder reinvested into the Art Centre’s operation and growth. Often located in remote and regional areas, Indigenous Art Centres provide economic and social benefits to their communities and play an important role in promoting cultural maintenance. In many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, art sales are the main opportunity for a source of income.
Art Centres support Indigenous artists by supporting arts, language and cultural activities, including bush trips to traditional country. Protecting artists intellectual and cultural property rights, ensuring artists are paid fairly, providing income, employment and training opportunities, supplying art materials, providing access to new media and technologies, performing the role of agent by acting as point of sale, authenticating, documenting and dispatching artwork, promoting and marketing the artists and their artwork.
Purchasing Indigenous Art Ethically
Buying authentic Indigenous art ethically is about ensuring that artists are being paid fairly, protecting the buyer’s investment and the sustainability of Australia’s Indigenous art industry. To safeguard authenticity when buying Indigenous artwork, you should consider the provenance of the artwork, who created it and where it came from. When you buy from an IACA member Art Centre you can be assured of artwork authenticity, certainty that the artist is receiving their fair share of the income and that you are supporting a community owned business which sustains broader cultural based projects.
When buying from an Indigenous Art Centre you will receive a Certificate of Authenticity that includes the name of the artist, title of the artwork and a unique catalogue number. Dealers committed to fair trade with Indigenous artists will be signatories of The Indigenous Art Code (the Code), buyers can look out for the logo and find out more about the Code at www.indigenousartcode.org
Main image credit: Artists Philomena Yates, Valmai Pollard and Eric Orcher in the studio at Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Precinct, Belonging Workshop September 2018. Image: IACA