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.

Managing overdue artwork consignments and invoices

Indigenous Art Code Ltd

Respectful and fair dealing includes paying artists on time. Clear communication and a proactive approach can help avoid issues down the track.

Indigenous Art Code frequently receives requests for support from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and/or the art centres that represent them (the consignor), who are concerned about overdue invoices and artworks a dealer (the consignee) is holding for much longer than the agreed consignment period. 

These requests for support increase at this time of year, and with financial pressures and business closures over December/January, communication can be challenging. If you are the consignee, please remember that artists rely on the income from sales so paying invoices promptly is important to help alleviate hardship and to ensure trusting, ongoing relationships.

Some advice for managing artwork consignments and payments: 

  • It is important to maintain good, transparent relationships with the galleries and artists/art centres you work with. Keep in regular communication and share your concerns with each other. Consignees should freely provide regular information and updates on sales so that it is clear what has sold and what remains on consignment. 

  • Consignors, have a plan for the artwork with each of your galleries/retailers before requesting all the work to be returned. They may have suitable upcoming opportunities or an expected increase in visitation and sales that you agree to hold out for, or you may have other avenues for the work you need to pursue. 


  • Be very clear about who is responsible for freight costs associated with sending the work back. A best practice consignment agreement is recommended to outline mutual obligations, such as freight. 


  • Speak with businesses you have licenced artwork to and see how sales are tracking. Depending on the circumstances, royalties might be lower, or higher, over some months and it is good to have an expectation of this. 


  • Respectful and fair dealing includes making payments on time. If you have sold an artwork, you have the money to pay the artist for it.

  • Raise the issue of unpaid invoices with the consignee directly and try and find an agreeable outcome. If you do not receive a suitable response, or if you receive no response at all, contact us at Indigenous Art Code
We highly recommend that artists and art centres ensure they have the galleries and dealers they work with registered under the PPSA.
We encourage you to contact Arts Law Centre of Australia to do this, or visit https://www.ppsr.gov.au/education-hub/ppsr-and-your-business/indigenous-artists-and-art-centres 

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