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.

The Artist-Dealer Relationship: Shared values, fair and transparent dealings

Indigenous Art Code
Installation image of Timo Hogan exhibition at Outstation Gallery, Garramilla (Darwin), 2021. ©Timo Hogan, Spinifex Art Project, Outstation Gallery/Indigenous Art Code, 2023. Photo: Fiona Morrison.

A model relationship is one based on open communication, transparency, and respect.

Whilst certain areas of the artist-dealer contract are covered by legislation, including copyright, moral rights, taxation and equal opportunity laws, there is much more to a successful relationship than adherence to the legal minimum.

For artists – transparency is about having access to information to allow you to determine if a deal is fair. To know what is fair you need to fully understand what’s on offer (the terms of the deal). As well as understanding the terms of the deal on offer to you, you have the right to access information from dealers you are working with about who gets what percentage in the deal (a breakdown of the entire ‘money story’). If you are having trouble accessing this information from any dealer you work with, please reach out [link to Contact Us page] to the Indigenous Art Code (IartC) for support. We can help you get the information you need.

For dealers – transparency means actively and openly communicating with artists to ensure they fully understand any arrangements they enter, providing all information necessary to allow artists to maintain agency when making decisions and to make informed decisions around any commercial dealings.

Clause 3 – Indigenous Art Code

Dealer Members must use their best endeavours to ensure that every dealing with an Artist in relation to Artwork involves the informed consent of the Artist.

Providing transparent information may include providing details of sales of artworks, including the amount the artist received and the amount the buyer paid. 

Dealers Members of the Indigenous Art Code are also expected to encourage any artist they work with to seek independent legal advice before entering into agreements.

Artists and dealers should regularly talk with one another and artists should be encouraged to discuss the processes around marketing, exhibition, licensing and sale of their work. At each stage, an artist should feel confident and informed.

For Indigenous Art Code Dealer Members, this should be front of mind in their commitments to ‘fair and ethical trade in art’ and ‘transparency in the process of promotion and sale of artwork’. For many of our Dealer Members, this is already an integral part of their practice.

Elizabeth Kandabuma’s Mud Ripples in ‘Wild Red Apple’ [ottoman] and Susan Marawarr’s Wak Wak in ‘Young Leaves’ [floor], from the Bábbarra Collection, with weaving from Maningrida, Northern Territory. Photo: Martina Gemmola. Artwork ©Elizabeth Kandabuma and Susan Marawarr/Copyright Agency, 2022 Photo: Willie Weston.

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