The Indigenous Art Code (known as the Code) is a voluntary industry code of conduct administered by the Indigenous Art Code Ltd (IartC).
Read the Code here.
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.
Developed by Indigenous visual arts industry and launched in 2009, the Code is a nine-page document setting out requirements for Dealer Members. It includes eight clauses:
1. Purpose of the Code and its Applications
2. General Standards of Conduct for Dealer Members
3. Dealings with Artists
4. Record Keeping
5. Code Certificates
6. Code Promotion and Branding
7. Complaints Handling
8. Definitions and Interpretation
As a voluntary industry code of conduct, the Code is a ‘non-prescribed’ code, meaning it is not mandatory under law. As the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) describes, “These codes only apply to those who sign up to them.”
The Code provides clear standards for dealings between dealers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists to deliver:
(a) fair and ethical trade in Artwork;
(b) transparency in the process of promotion and sale of Artwork; and
(c) that disputes arising under the Code are dealt with efficiently and fairly.
Who can become an IartC Member?
The IartC operates through a voluntary membership structure. There are three categories of membership, only Dealer Members become signatories and are bound by the Code:
Dealer Members may be agents, persons or organisations who acquire Aboriginal and Torres Artwork, or who carry on a business involving the acquisition of Artwork, for re-supply by means of sale or other distribution. They are signatories to the Code and agree to abide by it.
Artist Members are practising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. By becoming an Artist Member, artists are adding their voice to the call for fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork.
Supporter Members are organisations or individuals that are supportive of the objects of the Code and wish to add their voice to the call for fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork. Supporter Members are not involved in commercial trade of Artworks.
Dealer Members must adhere to, and demonstrate a commitment to, upholding the ethical standards laid out in the Code. Dealers undergo a rigorous application process in order to gain membership. Dealer Membership is renewed annually, and an annual fee is charged. Dealer Members must also respect the rules set out in the Company’s Constitution.
Artist Members and Supporter Members are not bound by the Code, but as members, must abide by the rules set out in the Company Constitution.
Who is responsible for the Code?
The Company or the IartC (The Indigenous Art Code Ltd) is the organisation that administers the Code.
IartC is a limited liability public company led by a Board of Directors drawn from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts industry and the wider community. The Board is independent from government and administered under the Australian Corporations Act 2001.
Read Constitution of the Indigenous Art Code here.