NAVA welcomes digital labelling pilot for authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks

Media release

NAVA welcomes the announcement by Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield that the Australian Government will support a digital labelling pilot to support clear identification of authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks.

“Fake ‘Aboriginal-style’ art is readily available for sale to unsuspecting Australians and tourists,” said Esther Anatolitis, Executive Director of NAVA. “You see it all over the country and even overseas. It’s disrespectful to culture, it’s damaging to communities and it’s detrimental to artists’ careers.

“The current Parliamentary Inquiry into inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander style art and craft has heard from artists and sector bodies including NAVA across many months.

“The long-running Fake Art Harms Culture campaign, led by the Indigenous Art Code, the Arts Law Centre of Australia and Copyright Agency, is still working hard to overcome the disrespect and undermining of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and culture.

“A key recommendation has been the implementation of a system for clear identification of work that has been created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists under ethical working conditions.

“This digital labelling pilot is a great start; clear indicators at the point of sale are essential. An important next step will be the introduction of penalties for those who fabricate and sell inauthentic works – because fake art harms culture. We need to see impactful consequences that present real disincentives for engaging in such culturally damaging and fraudulent activity. We also need meaningful education and regular audits of the sellers of such material.

“Working together, Desart and the Copyright Agency are well placed to implement an effective system as well as advocating passionately for authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.”


Esther Anatolitis