Resale Royalty Idea Pits Artists Rights vs. Art Market Fragility
It’s no secret that the market for Aboriginal art has bottomed out in Australia with too much supply and not much demand. But a movement to compensate indigenous families may introduce a secondary market royalty for all artists in the antipodes, according to the Australian. Here’s an excerpt from a story on the debate over the shape and timing of the new royalty:
One of the most powerful submissions came from the grandchildren of revered Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira, who urged the Government to amend the bill so that more artists and their families would benefit.
Despite the high prices Namatjira’s paintings regularly fetch at auction, it is unlikely his heirs will receive a royalty in their lifetime. The family’s concern is practical – a need to address extreme poverty – but it also represents a strategy to maintain the rights and responsibilities of an important ancestral link, which they need to maintain, says Northern Territory academic Alison French in her submission on behalf of the Namatjira family.
Recognising the rights of Aboriginal artists and providing new income streams has been one of the cornerstones of Garrett’s policy. The Government’s response to the recent Senate inquiry into the indigenous arts and crafts sector called for a resale royalty scheme, a move the inquiry did not support because of lack of evidence that indigenous artists would benefit at this time. But the Government is determined to introduce it, and it will be interesting to see what line George and her committee take on the issue when they submit their report at the end of this month.
Other issues raised at the committee hearing include art market fragility and whether collectors, dealers and auction houses can support an additional 5 per cent cost when art is sold.
Garrett Dismisses Calls to Delay Resale Royalty Scheme (The Australian)