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How to Purchase Authentic and Ethical Aboriginal Artwork

Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal artwork is unique yet extremely pleasing on the eye and with many people embracing and enjoying Aboriginal artwork, it’s important to understand what’s involved when making a purchase. 

Just like all other forms of art, when it comes to purchasing Aboriginal artwork, it’s important that buyers understand the process and what things they should consider. In taking the right steps, buyers will make informed decisions and ensure that they purchase the right artwork.

Consider Authenticity

When it comes to purchasing Abroginal artwork, authenticity is a serious consideration and that means that you should do everything possible to ensure that the piece you are interested in is authentic. Therefore, under the Resale Royalty Scheme, the Indigenous Art Code and the Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association artwork should be sold with authentication certificates.

This will ensure that the artwork is legitimate and comes from Aboriginal artists but it will also ensure that the artist was paid fairly. Furthermore, the artwork should also carry the Indigenous Art Code Logo as this will ensure that you can make your purchase with confidence.

Furthermore, you should also consider where you are making the purchase from. By using art galleries when making the purchase, this should ensure that you are certain that the purchase is legitimate and trustworthy. As art centres and galleries are legally regulated, that ensures that the purchase can be trusted.

Purchase Ethically and Ask Questions

To ensure that trade is completed ethically, there are organisations that ensure everything is above board. As mentioned, the Indigenouds Art Code is one organisation and the Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association both ensure that artists and those around them are paid fairly.

As part of ensuring the purchase is ethical, the gallery or dealer should be prepared to answer any questions that you might have. The Indigenous Art Code recommends that you asks the following questions:

  • Who is the artist?
  • Where is the artist from?
  • How did you get the artwork or product in your art centre, gallery or shop?
  • How was the artist paid for their work?
  • If it is a reproduction of an artist’s work, how are royalties or licensing fees paid to the artist?

It can also help to ask the gallery or dealer whether they are a member of the Indigenous Art Code. Every member will be required to follow ethical standards and code of conduct, all of which is monitored regularly. This ensures that you can purchase with confidence. 

The gallery you use should be one that is reputable and trusted as this will give further confidence when purchasing. Once you make the purchase, you should be given a certificate of provenance that once again contains the art centre logo, information about the artwork and the author while you should also be given a catalogue number and a receipt. 

Aboriginal artworks are highly valued pieces and are commonly sought after because they hold meaning and a connection to the country. Therefore, to ensure your purchase is authentic and legitimate, you should follow our advice above.


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