Eunice Napanangka Jack in the studio, photo by Dr Chrischona Schmidt/Ikuntji Artists

Rules for an ethical industry

The Indigenous Art Code helps protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists by getting sellers of their art to commit to treating artists fairly, honestly and respectfully.

It is a set of rules and guidelines that art dealers commit to follow to ensure ethical practices and to protect artists from exploitation. The full Code can be found here. Some key points are as follows:

  • Dealers cannot take advantage of artists, including if the artist is sick, confused or cannot look after him or herself for any reason.
  • The Code does not tell dealers what a fair price for an artwork is but does require dealers to listen to artists and negotiate respectfully and in good faith.
  • Dealers must properly explain any deal to artists and make sure the artist fully understands it.
  • Artists can ask dealers what the retail price of their work will be, about resale royalties and if the dealer is registering the sale.
  • Dealers are not permitted to pay artists in goods, such as drugs or alcohol.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists can become members of the Code free of charge by signing up here.

If you are an artist who would like more information or help joining the Code, contact Gabrielle Sullivan, Indigenous Art Code CEO, on +61 438 637 862 or email gabrielle@indigenousartcode.org

If you are an artist who does not currently have your own website, the Indigenous Art Code can create a profile for you on the Code’s website so people have a way to find out about you, your work and can contact you.

Tjanpi Toyota / Artists: Tjanpi Desert Weavers from Papulankutja, WA (Blackstone Community): Kanytjupayi Benson (dec.), Shirley Bennet, Nuniwa Donegan (dec.), Margaret Donegan, Melissa Donegan, Janet Forbes, Ruby Forbes (dec.), Deidre Lane, Elaine Lane, Freda Lane, Janet Lane, Jean Lane, Wendy Lane, Angela Lyon, Sarkaway Lyon, Angkaliya Mitchell, Mary Smith, Gail Nelson. Tjanpi Toyota. 2005. Photo by Thisbe Purich. ©  Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY Women’s Council.

Other organisations and services that can help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists:

Artists in the black

Part of the Arts Law Centre of Australia, Artists in Black can help artists with legal issues including wills, contracts and agreements. MORE

CALlViscopy

Copyright Agency Viscopy can help you with licensing your artwork on merchandise and other products, and helping you register for Resale Royalty. MORE

ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has information on artists’ rights and unconscionable conduct, a video on how to avoid scams and contacts for advice.

Good art good deal
Unconscionable conduct in the Indigenous art and craft sector