How to Empower and Support Aboriginal Artists

Decorating your home with traditional art pieces is a great way to connect with various cultures. In Australia, aboriginal art in Melbourne is slowly seeing a steady rise in support from non-indigenous Australians as more and more purchase their creations.

But if you truly wish to empower Aboriginal artists, you must know how to properly acquire their creations before purchasing. 

Whether it’s original pieces or ethically-sourced cheap canvas prints, here are several ways you can show your support for indigenous Australian artists:

Develop Relationships with the Artists

One of the best ways to truly empower Aboriginal artists is by getting to know them. This will give you insight into the beauty of their culture and fosters trust between the artists and you, the buyer.

Getting to know the creators behind the artistic creations helps assure the Indigenous community that you show genuine care for them and won’t take the design and make mass productions.

Buy Genuine Aboriginal Art

Purchasing the creations of Aboriginal artists is a simple step towards supporting the community. However, you must be wary of fakes and irresponsibly-sourced pieces sold by unethical organisations.

Before you seal the deal with any dealer, check whether or not the artwork was ethically produced. Consider the following factors:

  • The artwork should be labelled with the artist’s name and where they are from
  • The sales staff should be able to provide information on how they paid the artist and the names of the individual makers
  • Information about the supply chain should be transparent
  • There should be pictures or videos of the artist making the artwork

Be Wary of Fake Artwork

If you can’t find the artist’s name and location or the dealer can’t provide information about the art, it is crucial to avoid buying their products. There is a significant risk that those items were stolen and mass-produced without permission from the Aboriginal community.

If you notice organisations selling fake or stolen Aboriginal art, file a complaint immediately to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Purchase from Trusted Sources

It is always recommended to purchase artwork from the Aboriginal artists themselves, but if you wish to source yours from a dealer or organisation, ask the following questions:

  • Who is the artist?
  • Where did the artist come from?
  • How did you obtain the artwork?
  • How was the artist paid for the piece?
  • How is the artist paid for licensing and royalties if the painting is a reproduction?

Ethical dealers will not be afraid to answer queries and will be able to provide certificates to validate the pieces. An organisation that has collaborated with several artists is always a good indicator.

Suppose you’re unsure which dealer is to be trusted for aboriginal art prints. In that case, we recommend Urban Road, which has collaborated with the Warlukurlangu Artist Community of Yuendumu& Nyirripi in the Northern Territory, Australia.