Have you been looking or something a little different to display on your walls at home? Whimsical Pandanus Mats from the Maningrida Arts & Culture and Batik wall hangings from Ernabella Arts Inc from our latest exhibition could be just the thing you are looking for. Contact the Cooee Art team to find out more information.
WHAT MAKES AN INDIGENOUS ARTIST IMPORTANT
The importance of an indigenous artist can be related to both their cultural role and their creative output. Most of the determining factors that work in the contemporary and international art markets hold true for indigenous art as well. These include the recognised importance of their role in the development or history of a particular art style, the number of solo exhibitions they have held, their representation, the quality of the galleries they are shown in, and the number of important collections their work has been placed into.
When considering an artwork, ask yourself the following three questions:
Is this work entirely consistent with the artist’s cultural background?
When people refer to Indigenous Australian art as a ‘school of art’, I try to explain to them that, if that term means anything at all in the Australian context, Aboriginal art consists of many different schools. Each and every tribe in Australia has its own approach to art and each is stylistically different and as instantly recognisable as say cubism or expressionism in European art. Each of these tribal styles conforms to regional styles that have had their master practitioners and leaders.
What do I know about this Artist’s career?
Throughout an artist’s career their art goes through a number of developmental stages. In the case of traditional artists, this can be due to their having gained the right culturally to depict additional stories in new ways; their adoption of new mediums; or, in the case of a number of very important desert artists, their abandonment of ethnographically specific iconography in favour of more abstracted minimal imagery. It is of course much easier to identify changes in style amongst urban aboriginal artists, as this is very similar to looking at any other contemporary work.
The less you pay for a work, the greater the financial risk
Shopping around to find a gallery that will sell a work by a desired artist at the cheapest price is generally not in your best long-term interest. A large number of factors must be taken into consideration if you wish to ensure the price you pay represents good value.
If you are simply buying a painting in order to decorate your home, this may not be such an important issue for you. After all, so many people insist that they buy simply to enjoy and have no intention of ever selling. However, I have learnt from experience that few collectors enjoy the thought that the value of an artwork they have purchased may actually decrease over the life of their ownership.
You may be surprised to learn that the majority of art actually decreases in value in real terms over time. I say ‘in real terms’ in order to take into account the effects of inflation and the costs involved in selling the piece at the time you choose to exercise your ‘exit strategy’.
Secondary sales compete in the market with works being produced by currently practicing living artists that sell through retail shops and exhibiting galleries throughout Australia and overseas. Most of the artworks being sold year after year in the ‘primary market’ will eventually join the ‘secondary’ market.