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NITV - 'Cultural genocide': Flood of fake art threatens Indigenous artists and communities

Wonnarua woman Saretta Fielding sells a range of scarves, cushions and paintings she designs. Through her business she says she has been able to make a living and share part of her culture with Australia.

“The value of Aboriginal art should be owned by Aboriginal people,”

But her ability to do that was almost lost about eight years ago. Selling some drawings at an art fair, she was approached by a man who asked if she would like to put her designs on t-shirts and other merchandise.

“I was quite excited about the opportunity and I went to meet him later on,” Saretta explains.

She was offered a one to two percent cut from each product sold. Saretta said no to the offer, but was left shaken. The man bought copies of her work, and Saretta immediately sought legal advice. Although she has not seen those particular designs sold anywhere, there have been situations in the past where her work has been used without a licensing fee paid.

This kind of situation is not uncommon. But what frustrates Saretta is how processes like that can disempower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to continue making and selling their art, craft and merchandise

The value of Aboriginal art should be owned by Aboriginal people,” she says.

“The value of our culture and sharing that with others through our art mediums is something that is a great opportunity for Aboriginal people to have that economic inclusion.”

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