CNN says that Aboriginal artists are driven by the creative opportunities that come from transferring their culture’s imagery and techniques into new media despite the fall in the market for Aboriginal art:
It wasn’t until the 1990s that a secondary market for Aboriginal art developed, but it quickly began to make serious money. “Aboriginal art had never appeared at auction before, and it was incredible to see the reaction to it,” said Cavazzini. “Collectors were fighting over it.”
By the turn of the century it had become a major business, and in some cases art centers were making enough money to become self-sufficient.
According to Bonhams, Emily Kame Kngwarreye has achieved AUS$1 million at auction and the market peaked in 2007, before the global financial crisis, with the AUS$2.4 million sale of a work by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri.
More recently, prices have been dropping — with a Deutscher and Hackett auction in Melbourne this month grossing just AUS$1.25 million from estimates of double or triple that.
Yet for many Aboriginal artists, the motivation is not financial. “The current correction in the speculative end of the market is not only of no concern to the artists, they are generally unaware of it,” said Will Stubbs, coordinator of the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka art center in North East Arnhem Land. “Their concern is with the ceremonial and spiritual health of their land.”