If you are visiting the northern territory of Australia, you will surely be excited to get your hands on the aboriginal artwork from the region. The artwork may be a souvenir to you, but for the artist, it carries deep meanings about their community, spirituality, and culture. Thus, it is only right that you pay due respect to the art, artist, and culture. Ethical purchasing is the biggest act of respect for aboriginal art. There are many sources, such as an Australian art auction, that are reliable and respectful to the indigenous communities to acquire art.
Things to Keep in Mind When Purchasing Aboriginal Art
1. Know the Culture
Doing your research before you buy art is a given. But when it comes to indigenous artwork, understanding the history and symbolism in the culture can help you connect with the art better. Sure enough, you buy art based on the emotions and thoughts it evokes in you, but adding the artist’s voice to this can help you make a better sense of what the painting is trying to convey.
2. Beware of Forgeries
Forgery is the bane of small-scale artists. When you are investing a hefty amount to obtain a piece of authentic aboriginal art, make sure that a work plagiarised by someone is not fooling you. The best way to avoid such incidents is by connecting with a source that takes you to the artist. A quick search about the non-profit or community centre that you have found will confirm whether they are the real deal or not. Through such channels, you get a certificate of authenticity with every purchase.
3. Stick to Local
The best way to keep the indigenous artists encouraged is by purchasing their work directly. For these communities, art is a crucial source of income. When you engage in business with these artists, you inject much-needed resources into the community. In addition, numerous fairs like the Desert Mob and Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair give the artists 100% of the proceedings. These are equally good opportunities for you to purchase art and simultaneously give back to the community.
4. Connect with the Artist
The growing interest in aboriginal art meant a bridge was required to connect the indigenous communities with a wider audience. Unfortunately, the intermediaries who came to fulfil the role have been exploiting the artists ruthlessly. In a world where mass-produced art fills the walls, getting to discuss the craft with artists is a rare opportunity. Eliminating the go-betweens from the transaction of artwork is another benefit of buying art directly from the artists. While purchasing art from artists, your goal should be to empower them, not exploit them.
5. Do Not Replicate
This may be a faux pas from art enthusiasts, but recreating aboriginal art by an outsider is considered deeply disrespectful. These traditional arts have been passed down for generations, and the community’s history is woven into the craft. Even in the community, only a select few are allowed to create the famous aboriginal dot art. Breaking the sacred rules of the craft is not something that should be entertained.
Enjoying the Experience
The best part of exploring indigenous art should be getting to know the community and culture deeper. Visiting the locality, interacting with the locals, sourcing the art from an Australian art auction centre, and the related activities are more enjoyable. It can give an insight into how a different section of the world experiences life.