Fake art harms culture

September 7, 2016 | Indigenous

Copyright Agency | Viscopy is working with industry partners on a campaign to highlight the way fake art and crafts is harming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures with an information stand at the major art fairs in Darwin, Cairns and Alice Springs.

Fake arts and crafts is not only disrespectful to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and artists who spend hundreds of hours working on authentic artworks and products, it also violates Indigenous stories, imagery, knowledge and heritage.

That’s why Copyright Agency | Viscopy has partnered with the Indigenous Art Code, Arts Law Centre of Australia and the key peak industry bodies ANKAA, Desart, IACA, Ananguku arts, AACHWA and Umi arts. Ownership, responsibility and control by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of their cultural heritage is paramount. It is a way of economic empowerment for those artists who earn money from selling, reselling and reproducing their works through sale, copyright and resale royalties.

The stand showcases the large amount of ‘Aboriginal style’ arts and craft available for sale in outlets primarily directed at the tourist market in the major Australian tourist precincts of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle and Perth. The stand displays banners showing real conversations from buyers who went into these tourist art shops and purchased Aboriginal style arts and crafts. The stand also had a letter signed by numerous Aboriginal artists, arts workers, consumers and industry representatives calling for better Commonwealth legislation to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, arts and knowledge and for the ACCC to run a campaign to inform consumers about what action they can take.

Copyright Agency's Trish Adjei with artists from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre holding the letter to government. Photograph by Gabrielle Sullivan.

Copyright Agency’s Trish Adjei with artists from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre holding the letter to government. Photograph by Gabrielle Sullivan.