Art and Art Centres

AACHWA member art centres are located in remote & regional parts of WA, from WA’s northern-most point down through the mid-West and Goldfields regions. The artwork created by our members demonstrates the immense knowledge, history, stories and cultural diversity of Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

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Maruka Arts

Uluru, NT
(Working with WA Artists)

(08) 8956 2153

maruku@maruku.com.au

Yamaji Art

Geraldton

(08) 9965 3440

info@yamajiart.com

Walkatjurra Cultural Centre

Leonora

(08) 9037 6900

Tjanpi Desert Weavers

Alice Springs, NT
(Working with WA Artists)

(08) 8958 2377

tjanpi.sales@npywc.org.au

AACHWA Members

Other Art Centres

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About Art Centres

Aboriginal art centres come in many shapes and sizes. There are currently around 25 in WA, and are unique and exciting places in their own right. Some are located in town centres, while others are remote cultural spaces in desert regions.

Aboriginal art centres are many things to many people. They are cultural connectors; artistic work-spaces; art marketplaces; income generators; training facilities; professional workplaces; community hubs, and above all, places where culture is celebrated and continued.

Despite the differences, each art centre has something important in common: they are all art enterprises 100% owned and governed by Aboriginal people. Because of this, they provide their communities with many important economic, social and cultural benefits.

When an artwork is sold from an art centre, an agreed percentage of the sale price is paid to the artist, while the remainder is allocated to the art centre to support its continuation and growth. This distribution of income is decided by the Aboriginal artists working in the art centre with advice from the art centre manager. This structure marks an important point of difference in the Indigenous art trade and is vital to Aboriginal self-determination in relation to the art market.

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Visiting Art Centres

All art centres have studios where you might find artists researching and developing their creative concepts, or creating the artwork itself.

Some art centres have formal gallery spaces where works for sale are on display. Other art centres might use their studio spaces to display artworks for sale. Either way, art centres are places you can find artwork treasures before they hit the broader art market.

The artwork you find at an art centre might be more diverse than you think. Many people think only of dot paintings when they imagine Aboriginal art. But Aboriginal artists might be working on sculpture, carving, textiles, ceramics, printmaking, photography, digital art, and more.

Importantly, before visiting an art centre make sure you go to their website or social media pages to confirm their opening days, times, and any protocols that may apply. A phone call before visiting is also a good idea to confirm your visit plans with art centre staff.

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Buying Aboriginal Art

BUYING ABORIGINAL ART FROM ART CENTRES

When you buy art from a recognised Aboriginal art centre you are purchasing authentic work in an ethical way.

If an art centre has:
  • Aboriginal leadership in its decision making;
  • a not-for-profit / community-centred business structure; and
  • the creation of art is its primary focus,  then you can feel confident your purchase is properly benefiting the art centre artists and their local community.
Another way to check the authenticity of the work is to ensure sufficient documentation is included with the sale. At a minimum, you should
  •  receive receipt of purchase showing the price paid for the work;
  • the name of the gallery; and
  • a certificate of authenticity.
Certificates of authenticity should include:
  • the name of the artist/artists who created the artwork;
  • where and when the artwork was created;
  • the size and medium of the artwork and any other characteristics necessary to identify the artwork;
  • and the name, location and contact details of the person or association that is identifying the work, in many cases this will be an Aboriginal art centre.

You should also look for the Indigenous Art Code logo on the certificate of authenticity to ensure that the dealer is committed to fair trade with Indigenous artists.

The Indigenous Art Code is the industry’s regulatory body (run as a public company – the Indigenous Art Code Limited) which supports the ethical dealing of Indigenous art in Australia. Art dealers and galleries who are signatories to the Code have agreed to comply with its ethical standards in their dealings with Indigenous artists and art buyers.

BUYING ABORIGINAL ART FROM COMMERCIAL GALLERIES

It is also possible to make an ethically sound purchase of Aboriginal art from a commercial gallery or a dealer. In these cases, the gallery owners and curators have selected artists and works they want to represent, and as such, they should have firm relationships with these artists’ art centres. It is reasonable to expect that a lower percentage of the purchase price will be paid to the artist and the art centre from a commercial gallery sale, as there are usually significant overhead costs involved in running a commercial gallery.

As a buyer from a commercial gallery, you should always ask about the provenance of the artwork – who created it, where it is from and the series of transactions that has brought it to its current location. You should also check that the gallery is a signatory of the Indigenous Art Code.

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The art centre is for everybody. People come here to paint. If they have worries about things going on in town or in their family I say ‘Leave that at the door, and come inside'. This is a place for everyone to come together without those worries.

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Loreen Samson, Artist,
Roebourne Art Group

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