The Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association (Art.Trade) is the national organisation for persons and organisations experienced in the business of indigenous art. The Association was established in 1998.
Art Trade News
Indigenous Australian Art
Commercial Code of
The long awaited Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct has been officially launched as well as Indigenous Art Code Limited, the Company established to ensure professional and transparent behaviour in working with Indigenous artists.
We recommend everyone take a few minutes and have a look at the extensive website at http://www.indigenousartcode.org/ for more information on how this effects artists, customers, galleries, art centres and dealers.
The Board of Art.Trade has been active "behind the scenes" over the year, contributing to the development of a national code of ethical practice, making submissions to the Senate Committee investigating the Australian Indigenous Visual Arts and Craft industry and providing information to the goverment about the Aboriginal art market.
Art.Trade has represented its Members through the Reference Group for the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct (see below). Development of the Code was strongly endorsed by the Senate Committee for Industry wide adoption.
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Senate Committee Inquiry into Indigenous Visual Arts
The Senate Committee started work in October 2006 and tabled its report on 20 June 2007. The Committee received nearly 90 submissions and held seven sessions of public hearings. The submissions and transcripts of the hearings make interesting reading and contain lots of useful information about the state and issues facing the indigenous art market today. Art.Trade contributed to the work of the Committee by making a formal submission and also by providing informal comments to the staff of the inquiry.
The Commonwealth Government responded to the Committee's report in August 2008. The response is available online.
Donation to Aboriginal Benefits Foundation
Following the success of previous fund-raising auctions, the Indigenous Art Trade Association contributed $5000 in 2005 and 2006 to the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation and then $6500 in 2007.
The Aboriginal Benefits Foundation has been established to finance health, education and development projects in Aboriginal communities.
The establishment of the Foundation was a long cherished aim of successive Art Trade boards. Its establishment has been made possible by the generosity of Lawson Menzies auction house which donates 2% of the hammer price on all Aboriginal artworks sold to this worthy cause.
The Foundation was established in 2004 by a group of individuals involved in Indigenous art and culture to create an organisation with the objective of benefiting the well being of Aboriginal Australians. To assist in this aim the Foundation accepts moneys as direct donations, as proceeds in full or in part from the sale of art works, as gifts in kind, and as bequests and in various other ways. The Foundation has been gazetted by the Federal Government as a tax deductible charity.
For information about applying for a grant from the Foundation, click here .
Code of Ethical Conduct for Indigenous Art
Art.Trade has been involved in the development of the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct. The project was funded initially by the Australia Council and was directed by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), Desart and the Association of Northern Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA). For a full list of Art.Trade members Click Here
Since October 2008 further development of the code has been undertaken by the Australia Council for the Arts and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
The Code is intended to guide the Indigenous art industry in its commercial practice, covering industry issues relating to the production and sale of Indigenous artwork and intellectual property uses, for example when applied to merchandising and licensing agreements. It aims to improve fair and ethical practices in the Indigenous visual arts industry.
Art.Trade has been a member of the Reference Group for the process (now concluded). Our main comments were to stress the importance of buyers in the chain from artists to buyers, the role of ethical galleries and dealers and a need for the code to apply to all parts of the industry (with different sections tailored to different participants). We have of course pointed to our own Code of Ethics - but the Commercial Code of Conduct goes into considerably more detail and covers all elements of the market.
Questions to Ask when Buying Aboriginal Art
We are often asked about the issues arising for both purchasers and sellers when buying Aboriginal art. Members of Art.Trade are bound by the Code of Ethics of the Association and these provide guidance for sellers of art. In addition to the ethics of selling, there are issues to do with authenticity of the work, ethical dealing and fairness.