IartC acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of Country throughout Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to the land, waters and skies, often expressed through art.

Fair and ethical trade

Indigenous Art Code
Shopping at Aboriginal Art Co gallery and store, Meanjin (Brisbane). ©Aboriginal Art Co/Indigenous Art Code 2023.
Buying and selling art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists ethically is about ensuring artists are treated and paid fairly.

Artists and their culture should be respected, and all dealings should be transparent and provide meaningful benefit.

It is essential the relationships businesses establish with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are not simply extractive or transactional. The relationships need to be respectful, meaningful, transparent and fair.

Buyers can and should play a part in ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists get a fair go. The Indigenous Art Code encourages buyers to take an active and engaged role in ensuring the artwork they purchase comes from ethical sources and that artists are paid and treated fairly by those that trade in their work. When buying art, we urge you to buy what you love but make sure artists are treated ethically in the process.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists art is a lifeline. It is an expression of their culture and heritage and maintains and sustains their relationship to Country, sky and waters. It is also important financially and a way to support themselves and their families. In many communities, art sales are the main source of income.

Naomi Hobson with her artwork Notes From My Country, 2020 ©Naomi Hobson/Indigenous Art Code, 2023. Photo: Chadwe, Integrated Media.

The Indigenous Art Code administers a voluntary industry Code of Conduct. The Code is a set of rules and guidelines that dealers (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses) commit to follow to ensure ethical practices and fair treatment of artists. We encourage consumers to look for members of the Indigenous Art Code. A register of our members is available here.

We encourage businesses trading in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art to apply for membership of the Indigenous Art Code. As signatories to the Code, our Dealer Members are committed to fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, we encourage you to reach out to the Indigenous Art Code for assistance and information. We also suggest you have a look through our artist resources and FAQs. The Indigenous Art Code is about a fair go for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. We want to see artists treated and paid fairly, their art valued, and their Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights respected.

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