The Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association
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.
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
We recommend everyone take a few minutes and have a look at the extensive
http://www.indigenousartcode.org/ for more information on how this effects
artists, customers, galleries, art centres and dealers.
So far 32 dealer members have been accepted including a number of current
members of Art.Trade, as well as 2 artist members and 5 support members with
many more expected to be admitted in the near future.
Click the link for a full list of
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
Senate Committee Inquiry into Indigenous Visual Arts
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 Commonwealth Government responded to the Committee's report in August
2008. The response is available
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
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).
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. A copy of the code can be found
For more information see the
Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct.
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.
To help respond to these issues, Art.Trade has developed a list
of Questions to Ask When Buying Aboriginal Art.
We hope you find these useful.