Buying Indigenous art (PDF 1MB)
This guide aims to help you make an informed decision in purchasing Indigenous art and art products.
Use this checklist to help ensure you are buying Indigenous art that is produced and sold in an ethical manner.
1) If the gallery or shop is located within the City of Melbourne, has it adopted the Code of Practice for galleries and retailers of Indigenous art?
- Ask gallery or shop staff ; or
- Look for the certificate of subscription to the Code.
2) Buying artwork from a gallery – Is the artwork produced by an Indigenous person?
- Look for biographical details of the artist.
- Is the artist Indigenous?
- Where do they come from?
- Have they signed their name?
3) Buying crafts and souvenirs from a shop –
Where was the art product made?
Was it made in Australia? Check the packaging or labelling to ensure the item is attributed and licensed to an Indigenous artist.
4) Is there an Indigenous organisation involved?
Some Indigenous organisations endorse and manage Indigenous artworks and arts products.
5) Does the artwork or art product have an arts centre
or cooperative logo or label?
Some artwork can come from an Indigenous arts centre or a cooperative. Evidence of their logo or labelling demonstrates the work’s authenticity.
6) “Certified” artworks.
Items described as “certified” should be checked. How is the work certified – are Indigenous people involved in the certification?
7) Does the artist have a belonging or association
with the imagery?
You can ask if the artist has a belonging or association with any traditional imagery used in the work. Artists should not use imagery, stories and themes and styles from other regions without that community’s permission.
8) Copyright ©
Are you aware that copyright remains with the artist even after you have bought the artwork or art product? This means you cannot alter or reproduce the imagery without permission from the artist.