Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Record art auction prices show need for resale royalty rights.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Senator Aden Ridgeway Australian Democrats Arts & Indigenous Affairs Spokesperson 29 July2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/542

Record Art Auction Prices Show Need for Resale Royalty Rights

The record prices reached for Indigenous art at this week’s Sotheby’s auction in Sydney have highlighted both the size of the Indigenous culture industry and the need for better conditions for the artists.

Australian Democrats’ Arts and Indigenous Affairs spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, says the Government needs to look at legislation for resale royalty rights so artists can benefit from the exponential growth in the value of their work.

“This week’s Sotheby’s auction in Sydney has seen Indigenous artworks sold for record prices, with around $6 million changing hands,” Senator Ridgeway said.

“Currently artists in Australia gain nothing from the profits from any further sale of their work

“The right of an artist to share in the profit of the resale of an artwork is recognised in French law as the droit de suite, but this right is not recognised in Australian law.

“The establishment of a scheme for resale royalty rights for artists is particularly important in the context of the rapidly booming international market for Indigenous artworks as compared to the desperate economic conditions within which many Indigenous artists live and work.

“The Indigenous culture industry is currently estimated to be worth some $85 million per annum.

“The Government announced in May that it would introduce legislation into Parliament this year to recognise communal moral rights for Indigenous artists.

“While this is an important reform and part of a broader agenda to improve conditions for Indigenous artists, it is a first step and I would encourage the Government to look into resale royalty rights as a part of the bigger picture of enhancing Australian Indigenous arts and culture.

“Indigenous artwork, song and dance has won Australia international acclaim and should be afforded the respect, protection and recognition that goes with works of that status,” concluded Senator Ridgeway.

Contact: Liz Willis 0417 410 506