What Does The Indigenous Code Of Conduct Mean?
Ever since white people first came to Australia, there have been people taking advantage of Aboriginal artists and their communities. As Aboriginal art has come to be regarded as extremely valuable over the past decade, there has been both an increase in the exploitation as well as a big push to eradicate it.
Ideas like Fair Trade have helped spark more consumer consciousness though have only been able to do so much without a larger framework for art dealings. As a response to calls for more equitable dealings between artists, agents and dealers, the Indigenous Code of Conduct has been developed to try and establish a more level playing field as far as the trade in Aboriginal art goes. The following describes what the Indigenous Code Of Conduct means for artists, dealers and consumers.
The Indigenous Code of Conduct is a voluntary initiative and a way for people and businesses that deal with or in Aboriginal art to show their commitment to fair and equitable relationships with the artists. People who deal in Aboriginal art who sign up to the Code of Conduct become known as Dealer Members, and will be agreeing to a standard of ethical behaviour that will help ensure that people are able to buy art in good conscience. Artists themselves or even businesses that don’t deal in Aboriginal art can also become signatories as a way to show their support for the Code.
It’s Governed By Indigenous Art Code
The Indigenous Art Code provides the legal framework for the implementation of the Code, so once a dealer signs up and agrees to adhere to the ethical standards and rules of the Code they are subject to assessment by IartC. The only real action that can be taken against a dealer that doesn’t comply with the standards of the Code is to revoke their membership, though this alone will prevent them from claiming a level of business ethics that they aren’t living up to.
It Encourages Transparency
For years people have gotten away with selling art that they hadn’t paid a fair price for and made millions in the process, though the Indigenous Code of Conduct aims to change all of that. As a way to increase ethical standards as well as transparency, the Code of Conduct is a great tool in combating dodgy art dealings, as those who sign up have to prove they are acting ethically and those that don’t are virtually admitting that they aren’t.
It Empowers Consumers
Most people would like to think that when they are buying Aboriginal paintings that they are not only getting something great but are also helping support the artist and their community. The Indigenous Code of Conduct allows the consumer to know if a dealer is acting ethically and dealing fairly with the artists, and therefore gives people the power to support those dealers who do the right thing as opposed to those that exploit the artists. Knowledge is power so at least now the consumer can make an educated decision.