Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists have earned 50% of all royalties generated so far.

The majority of Aboriginal artists who receive royalties when their works are resold are located in remote and very remote areas in the Northern Territory, followed by Central Australia (SA and WA).

Australia’s resale royalty scheme began in 2010 and since then has generated more than $2.4 million for 900 artists. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists have earned 50% of all royalties generated so far. A resale royalty of 5% is paid to an artist when their work is resold, if it’s valued at more than $1000.

Of all the artists receiving royalties, nearly half (45 per cent) reside in the Northern Territory, while another 14 per cent reside in South Australia and Western Australia – mostly in central Australia. Of the Top 20 Australian artists earning royalties, seven (35 per cent) are Aboriginal and six of those are women.

“This data highlights the extraordinarily rich talent and market recognition of Aboriginal artists in the Northern Territory. We have been monitoring the scheme since its inception and it is worth noting that not only has more income been generated for all artists than was projected, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are greatly benefitting from the scheme,” Copyright Agency Chief Executive, Murray St Leger, said.

“Nine out of 10[1] Australians agree that Indigenous arts are an important part of Australia’s culture and this scheme is providing a valuable source of income to Aboriginal visual artists, assisting them to continue their creative practice.”

Most royalties being paid have been between $50 and $500 and more than 70 per cent of royalties have been paid directly to living artists, with the remainder paid to artists’ estates and beneficiaries.

Two late artists whose families are benefiting from resale royalties are the relatives of Dorothy Napangardi and Albert Namatjira, both from the Northern Territory.

Alice Springs artist Dorothy Napangardi, who won the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2001, tragically passed away in June 2013. Mother to a large family, her children now directly benefit from the royalties from her estate.

Similarly, Albert Namatjira’s many grandchildren now receive benefits from the resale of Mr Namatjira’s works on the secondary art market.

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[1] According to the report: Arts in Daily Life: Australian Participation in the Arts, Australia Council for the Arts.

Pictured: Alice Springs artist, Elton Wirri Photo: Guy Louanglath