The recent contretemps over Herbert Badham’s Snack Bar—which has been denied an export license from Australia—has curiously put a focus on the market for aboriginal art. The Australian spoke to several auctioneers and gallerists who point to the fact that aboriginal art remains under represented in Australian galleries.
All of those The Australian spoke to believe that the path to greater prominence for Australian art is through global sales:
Since 1989 dozens of paintings have been refused export permits, the vast majority of the 38 works by indigenous artists, including Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula.
Menzies Art Brands chief executive Justin Turner said it made sense that more indigenous works were refused permits as many Australian galleries already had a large number of works by non-indigenous artists such as Brett Whiteley and William Dobell, and fewer important indigenous works were for sale.
He said if the permits became too restrictive, Australia would run the risk of damaging the market and limiting the exposure of quality Australian paintings.
“I think there would be a case to argue that maybe the best way to promote the best works internationally would be to show the best works internationally,” he said. […]
Mossgreen chief executive Paul Sumner said there was the potential for the art market to go underground if the government did not allow free trade.
“Restricting, in particular, indigenous art travelling to collections internationally is highly unhelpful for indigenous artists,” he said.
Exporting art: ‘If paintings are important, nation should buy’ (The Australian)