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Protecting Indigenous Art and Culture

There has long been a problem with the exploitation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture in Australia. One particular issue has been the sale of ‘fake’ or ‘inauthentic’ Indigenous art products in stores.

In a mystery shopping exercise conducted in 2017, the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the Indigenous Art Code found that up to 80 per cent of ‘Aboriginal art’ products that were available in the examined stores, especially in souvenir stores, were either fake or their origin was unclear*.

Stephanie Parkin and Dr Kylie Pappalardo have published a research article on this issue and the Parliamentary Inquiry and Report on the impact of inauthentic art and craft in the style of first nations peoples.

In the article, Parkin and Pappalardo explain that while the Inquiry was thorough, and its final report an important step in both increasing awareness and responding to the problem of inauthentic Indigenous art in the Australian marketplace, its focus on consumer protection means that the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons are sidelined and obscured.

You can read their conclusions, recommendations, and the full report at QUT ePrints.

* Arts Law Centre of Australia, ‘Fake art harms culture campaign: Inauthentic art inquiry’.

About Stephanie Parkin

Stephanie ParkinStephanie Parkin is a Masters of Philosophy Candidate in the QUT School of Law. Stephanie is a Quandamooka person from North Stradbroke Island, Lawyer, and Chair of the Indigenous Art Code Ltd.


About Kylie Pappalardo

Kylie PappalardoDr Kylie Pappalardo is a Senior Lecturer in the QUT Faculty of Law and Chief Investigator in the Digital Media Research Centre. She researches intellectual property and innovation law, focusing primarily on the intersection between copyright and creativity, and the role and regulation of technology intermediaries.

You can learn more about Kylie and her research and publications in her staff profile.

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Yungair, freshwater reed woven strands by Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, 2018Yungair, freshwater reed woven strands by Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, 2018 (Photo: Julie Sisco, 2019)

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