Aboriginal art is significant in many ways: as an expression of Aboriginal culture, as a source of income for artists and communities and as a source of pleasure for viewers and buyers.
If you are thinking of buying an Aboriginal art work, there are various places where you can make your purchase. These include art galleries and dealers, Aboriginal community art centres, auctions and directly from the artist.
When buying a painting or limited edition print it is useful to consider the following questions:
" Is the art work authentic (made by the person stated as the artist)?
" Is it properly documented (such as by a certificate of authenticity from a reputable source, photographs or other evidence)?
" What is the history (provenance) of the work? Where and when was it made? How has it come onto the market?
" Does the art work come from a reputable source?
" If buying direct from the artist, are you paying a fair price for the work?
" If buying from a gallery or dealer, are they a member of the Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association or the Australian Commercial Galleries Association?
" Does the business have a code of conduct for its operation and its dealings with artists?
" Does it subscribe to the ethics of a professional organization (such as the Art.Trade Code of Ethics - click here for members) or the new Australian Indigenous Art Commercial Code of Conduct ?
" What is the reputation or profile of the artist?
" How does the art work compare in quality with other works by the same artist?
" Would it be possible to re-sell the art work, either with the current seller or at auction?
In developing these questions, we have been influenced by the "Protocols for Working with the Australian Indigenous Visual Arts and Craft Sector" published by the National Association for the Visual Arts in 2001.