Contrary to public perception Aboriginal artists are enfranchised by the Aboriginal arts industry in quite a variety of ways. At the time of the publication of the Art and Craft Centre Story in 1999 only 39 art centres existed throughout the entire desert region and Arnhem Land. By 2006 the Indigenous Visual Arts and Crafts Resource Directory listed 42 art centres in the Northern Territory, and 25 in Western Australia. Today the advocacy bodies DESART and ANKAAA represent 79 art centres that have, during the past 40 years represented over 8,000 individual artist members.
Yet relatively few of these have produced art that is of even passing interest to serious collectors. Most artists work for art centres, and it is hard to come up with a list of more than 100 desert and Arnhem Land artists of any renown who have acted completely independently of an art centre in their community. I confine this observation to the desert and Arnhem Land regions because there is no serious conflict that I have detected in the representation of Queensland artists, or those who work in the urban contemporary context of the eastern and southern states.
It is interesting to note that about 70 of the top 100 Aboriginal artists of all time actually worked outside of the art centre system for a great deal of their careers.
Just a few examples of the ways in which prominent artists have worked outside of art centres include the following...
Full download available 22nd of August 2017
To receive email alerts for future issues click on the red "Keep Informed" button in the top right corner of the website