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Australian Government invests in digital labelling to combat fake Aboriginal art

Australian Government invests in digital labelling to combat fake Aboriginal art
June 21, 2018

The Australian Government has this week confirmed that it will commit $150,000 to a pilot program to test digital codes to label authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products.

The move is the latest step in the fight against inauthentic Indigenous art and follows from the success Fake Art Harms Culture campaign, launched in August 2016 and led by the Indigenous Art Code, the Arts Law Centre of Australia and Copyright Agency, and subsequent inquiry by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into inauthentic products presented to consumers and misleading under Australian Consumer Law.

The pilot will be conducted by Desart in collaboration with the Copyright Agency I Viscopy and the Federal Department of Communications and the Arts.

The program will be implemented in three or more remote Indigenous-owned art centres, and will start in the first half of 2019.

Announcing the funding, Federal Minister for the Arts, Mitch Fifield stated “this initiative aims to assist consumers to make informed and ethical purchases and will increase economic and cultural opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and designers.

“The digital codes will allow consumers to track the artwork’s journey from a remote community to the store shelf, and see information on provenance and the artist.”

National Association for the Visual Arts Executive Director Esther Anatolitis added “fake ‘Aboriginal-style’ art is readily available for sale to unsuspecting Australians and tourists.

“It’s disrespectful to culture, it’s damaging to communities and it’s detrimental to artists’ careers.”

Image: Poster from the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign. Courtesy of the Arts Law Centre of Australia


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