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Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
Growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 'style' art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia

CREES, Dr Mark, Director, Araluen Cultural Precinct

WILLIAMSON, Mr Stephen, Curator, Araluen Arts Centre


ACTING CHAIR: I now welcome representatives from Araluen arts precinct. Is that how we describe it?

Dr Crees : It's the Araluen Arts Centre within the Araluen Cultural Precinct.

ACTING CHAIR: Do you have any comments to make on the capacity in which you appear?

Dr Crees : I have two positions are the moment. I'm the interim director of the project implementation team for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery—

ACTING CHAIR: You lucky bloke!

Dr Crees : and the senior director for Araluen Cultural Precinct. I'll be speaking in reference to the Araluen Cultural Precinct and the Araluen Arts Centre today.

Mr Williamson : I've been a curator at the Araluen Arts Centre for six years.

ACTING CHAIR: This is a formal proceeding, and it is public. It's recorded by Hansard, and we're simultaneously broadcasting on the net. If you wish to have evidence heard in private, please let the committee know and we'll consider your request. Although we don't require evidence to be given under oath, we formally advice that this is a formal proceeding of the parliament. The giving of false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and could be regarded as a contempt. If you object to any questioning of the committee, please let the committee know and we'll consider the matter.

Do you have a statement you wish to make? Go for it; kick off.

Dr Crees : The Araluen Cultural Precinct is a branch of the Northern Territory government's Department of Tourism and Culture, in the Community Participation, Sport and the Arts Division. The Araluen Cultural Precinct is a significant arts and cultural destination, institution and tourism attraction, and home to some of the most significant artistic, cultural and historical experiences in Alice Springs. It provides an integrated visitor experience encompassing Central Australia's key cultural institutions and collections. The cultural precinct comprises the Araluen Arts Centre, the Museum of Central Australia incorporating the Strehlow Research Centre, the Central Australian Aviation Museum and Central Craft.

The Araluen Arts Centre is the visual and performing arts hub of Central Australia, presenting an annual program of exhibitions, performances and film as well as hosting major arts and cultural events such as the Beanie Festival and Desert Mob. The Araluen Arts Centre galleries feature an annual program of exhibitions that showcase the beginning and continuing development of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement, national touring exhibitions of significant national artists and exhibitions by local contemporary artists. The Araluen art collection comprises over 1,000 works of art, including original artworks by renowned water colourist Albert Namatjira. The precinct is set on nine hectares amongst important Arrernte sites significant to local Dreaming including Big Sister Hill, Little Sister Hill and a sacred 300-year-old corkwood tree, around which the galleries are situated.

In relation to the matter before the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs and the inquiry into the growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 'style' art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia, I'd like to offer the following points. The Araluen Arts Centre is the major museum and art gallery in Central Australia for the collection of Aboriginal art from the region. All Aboriginal artworks acquired for the permanent collection are sourced ethically either through Aboriginal owned and managed arts centres across the region or galleries with a best practice model in place. This ensures provenance is undisputable and in turn promotes Aboriginal artists as the rightful owners of their art and culture.

The Aboriginal art collection is showcased here at Araluen, specifically in the Albert Namatjira Gallery to highlight the evolution and continuing development of Aboriginal art from this region and to demonstrate the culture that informs it. Araluen sources only ethically-made Aboriginal products or products directly from Aboriginal owned arts centres to sell through its gallery shop. This reinforces the importance of Aboriginal art centres from the region and the role they play in supporting and promoting the creation of art by their artists. Araluen also engages Arrernte traditional owners and Mparntwe custodians to provide ongoing cultural advice. Thank you.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you. Can I ask: are you a member of the art code?

Dr Crees : The Department of Tourism and Culture is, and, therefore, we are by association as a branch of that department, as most of those departments are in Western Australia, South Australia, et cetera.

ACTING CHAIR: Do you display the art code on the products that you sell here?

Dr Crees : I don't think it would be on each product.

ACTING CHAIR: The reason I'm asking is that the issue of the art code is becoming quite important in the context of this inquiry, largely because all the arts centres that we know of—or that I'm aware of; some may not be—are members of the art code. They're bound by the art code and issues about authenticity, et cetera. We went to Tjanpi this morning. Tjanpi have got the sign of the black and red circle on their window to identify that they're members of the art code so that people who come to purchase from them can have confidence that they're purchasing authentic Aboriginal art, because the people selling the art are members of the art code. I don't doubt at all that you're buying authentic Aboriginal art. We noticed that the galleries in New South Wales that we took evidence from are members of the art code. If you're a member of the art code by delegated authority, because your government's a member of the art code, why wouldn't you have the art code displayed?

Dr Crees : I'll have to check and get back to you on notice. I'd need to check with the retail store and see what we do in reference to that, because I'm not sure.

ACTING CHAIR: One of the things that we're reflecting on is whether or not the art code should be mandatory. I'm sure this isn't an issue for you, but there seems to be, from what we gather—not that anyone has given us this evidence—that there are people who are opposed to the idea of mandating an art code because it might disadvantage them in some way. I'm not sure how that works, because the art code is protecting artists and protecting consumers. On the one hand, it's protecting the artists to make sure that they're properly dealt with; on the other hand, it's protecting consumers so that they can be guaranteed that they're purchasing authentic Aboriginal art. This is why this discussion is taking place, in part. That's the purpose of asking the question.

Mr Crees : Certainly.

ACTING CHAIR: Do you have a view about knock-offs or fake Aboriginal art and how it might impact on the sales of art through your retail space?

Mr Crees : In terms of other products sold in the street, or something like that?

ACTING CHAIR: Yes. So if someone is purchasing something that's a knock-off or fake in the street for 60 per cent of what you're selling it for here, I'm assuming that potentially would have an impact on your business, or the business of other galleries, for that matter.

Mr Crees : It could. I would be more concerned, though, in terms of the artists not gaining what they should be gaining from the sale of their own products and their own culture, which they have authority across. Whether it would impact us, if someone in the mall were selling boomerangs made in China which are not authentic products—I'm not sure how much it would impact us in terms of our particular market. Our market in a sense is those who come into the galleries, have an opportunity to experience Aboriginal art and then on the way out of the gallery go through the retail store and then want to take a little piece of that art back home with them to wherever they've come from. It is certainly possible that people could have seen a cheaper product somewhere on the street and therefore not purchase something through Araluen. Our retail store, though, is doing exceptionally well and has over doubled in income over the last couple of years. Part of that has been because of the strength of the products that we have in the store, and ensuring also that it reflects Central Australia, and in particular Central Australian artists, through everything that we have. So it has lifted the space in the last couple of years. I would be more concerned about the rights of artists and across their visual culture than any economic element for us. Of course there is economics that flow back to communities from us, because we only source ethically. I would be more concerned about that element than I would be around a simple loss of income for us.

ACTING CHAIR: Stephen, I should have asked you whether you want to make any introductory or opening comments as well. My apologies. I jumped in a bit early.

Mr Williamson : I would like to. I would like to thank the committee for inviting us to speak today. I think this is an important initiative and I'm really happy to be participating in it. My statement is based on my role as curator and more specifically my involvement in the delivery of Desert Mob in the Araluen galleries. Desert Mob is a unique annual event that was established by the Araluen Arts Centre in 1991. It started as an exhibition with the key aim of increasing marketing opportunities for Aboriginal owned arts centres from across Central Australia and the artists they represent. The realisation of Desert Mob at becoming the great event it is today is due to the important partnership that exists between the Araluen Arts Centre and Desart, the peak body for Aboriginal arts centres in Central Australia, as well as the partnership with 30-plus Aboriginal arts centres that participate in Desert Mob each year. This partnership is equal and transparent. It emphasises and supports the ethical creation of works of art, and it celebrates and places Aboriginal artists of Central Australia and their Aboriginal owned arts centres at the fore. Importantly, the culture that informs the art underlines the event. These values have guided Desert Mob across its 28-year history. Over the last decade and a half, Desert Mob has grown into a major national event and now encompasses a significant exhibition of up to 300 artworks, a symposium where artists take to the stage and talk about their art and what informs it, and a marketplace of artworks run by the artists and art centre staff themselves.

Desert Mob rode the wave of the global financial crisis in 2008 and the collapse of the Aboriginal art market and, in the 10 years since, has responded stronger than ever. Desert Mob is unique and the only event of its kind. The artists and art centres have an incredible agency within it and, unlike any other event, they choose the artworks they exhibit. It is one of the great Aboriginal art and cultural events in the nation, one that facilitates and demonstrates Aboriginal ownership, and one that celebrates artists and their art and culture, an event that places hundreds of Aboriginal artists involved front and centre.

Desert Mob facilitates meaningful interactions between Aboriginal artists and the broader art market; promotes Aboriginal art to broad audiences; helps to educate buyers around the ethical purchasing of Aboriginal artworks; and provides important avenues to learn about Aboriginal culture and how integral it is to the creation of works of art. Annually, it attracts visitation in excess of 10,000 people not only locally but nationally and internationally. Each visitor gets to experience a strong statement about Aboriginal art and culture.

Desert Mob also encompasses a range of best practices around the promotion and celebration of Aboriginal artists and the art movement that is rightfully theirs, a movement that draws on millennia of Aboriginal culture that only Aboriginal people have the right to own and represent through the creation of art.

Desert Mob demonstrates the strength and capacity of Aboriginal artists and the importance of art centres. Art centres not only provide endless support to artists; they are also a gateway for the boarder population to learn about Aboriginal art and culture. This education is key and one that is demonstrated through the market development of Desert Mob, which last year achieved sales of $1 million.

Art centres are also key to facilitating new industry opportunities that could cater to the needs of the tourist market and showcase Aboriginal people's culture—a culture that is rightfully only theirs to represent. As I mentioned, education around the purchasing of Aboriginal art is critical and something that Desert Mob does well. An educated art-buying public are informed about what they are buying, have increased knowledge and respect for Aboriginal people and their culture, and greater agency in instigating market change.

Finally, I'd just like to finish with a reflection on Albert Namatjira. As you would know, Namatjira became one of the country's greatest Aboriginal artists and, through his watercolour paintings of Central Australia, almost single-handedly initiated an art market for Aboriginal art. Before Namatjira became a celebrated watercolour artist, he created wooden artefacts to cater for a tourist market. He carved small objects, including boomerangs, plaques as well as animal figures—some were even handpainted. These items were then sold by the artist at Glen Helen to tourists travelling through the region. This demonstrates the capacity of Namatjira to adapt to his given situation and work across different markets—something that I think can also be said about Aboriginal artists in more general terms.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you. I have one question before I hand over to my colleague, Ms Claydon. A million dollars turned over—how many art pieces would've been purchased?

Mr Williamson : I'd be speculating: from the exhibition alone, between 150 and 200; from the marketplace, potentially, between 1,000 and 2,000 works. The marketplace has an upper capped price of $500, so that indicates that a large volume of works are being sold. That $1 million is split equally across the exhibition and the marketplace.

Ms CLAYDON: I think we had some evidence from Desart yesterday that said that it was $400,000 from the marketplace and presumably the balance from the exhibition.

ACTING CHAIR: In any event, that's a lot of paintings.

Ms CLAYDON: We were really fortunate to be able to attend the Revealed exhibition at Fremantle, and there was a similar arrangement around having a market day and an exhibition. Artists seemed particularly happy about obviously selling a high volume of work but being able to participate in a few weeks of symposiums, workshops and doing a lot of professional development work. I understand that's an important part of the Desert Mob work as well.

Mr Williamson : Absolutely. I think Desert Mob was the leader in those types of events and creating a whole experience for visitors. The exhibition of recent works from the region is critical in bringing people into the centre. But those people also want to learn more about the art and to be able to hear from the artists themselves, and the Araluen theatre is a unique opportunity and one that you don't often get exposure to. That's been running for over 10 years now. That package of a fine art exhibition, a series of artist talks and then a marketplace of lower priced works works really well and caters to a really broad audience. It provides incredible interactions with artists that you wouldn't necessarily have. Artists are usually in the galleries during the opening weekend interacting with the broader public. It's amazing ownership that those artists have of the event, and it's a coming together of artists from all over the region. It's an amazing thing to witness.

Ms CLAYDON: Who is the audience predominantly—the consumers, the buyers of the art? Where are they coming from?

Mr Williamson : I think the audience is broad. There are art collectors, of course, galleries, institutions. There are also new collectors of Aboriginal art. There are people who have heard about the event and just want to experience this celebration of Aboriginal culture and the opportunities to hear Aboriginals speak about their art. We often get new people coming each year to the event. I think it's a broad audience. International audiences—people who have seen Aboriginal art exhibited overseas or have connections in Australia—want to get a sense of the experience as well. It's an audience that's growing all the time. Each year our audience numbers increase quite significantly. That's through a solid marketing campaign. We produce a publication and we have a Facebook page and a website dedicated to Desert Mob. There's a lot of exposure and it taps into quite a broad audience.

Ms CLAYDON: Obviously the people attending have a self-evident experience of the authentic pathway of these paintings and objects that they're purchasing, and they're getting to meet the artists and all of that—an incredible experience wrapped into the day or the couple of weeks that it's across. How do you maintain that confidence in between Desert Mob exhibitions with the work you're selling? Do you only sell through the retailer or does your gallery sell works as well?

Mr Williamson : We sell through the gallery. Desert Mob is a selling exhibition. We have selling exhibitions by non-Aboriginal artists as well. We also have non-selling exhibitions and we also sell through the retail outlet.

Ms CLAYDON: How do you maintain that confidence? Could additional support be lent to that process?

Mr Williamson : There's always additional support. It's about maintaining exposure. Through our Facebook page and regular posts, it keeps people aware of what's happening. We repost posts from art centres and use word of mouth, and collection exhibitions. In the Namatjira gallery they showcase works that have been acquired from Desert Mob. That generates interest. The arts centres themselves, the artists themselves, have solid exhibition programs annually and they travel around the country for art prizes or major exhibitions in commercial galleries. They talk about Desert Mob. They promote the event. They're some of the means.

In terms of greater investment in the event by Araluen and the NT government, we've produced a more elaborate catalogue. Every Desert Mob has had a catalogue produced around the exhibition, and we've invested quite significantly in creating a more up-market catalogue, which serves as an ongoing marketing tool for the event and encourages visitation and conversations about it.

Ms CLAYDON: Do you have any shortage of artists wanting to participate in Desert Mob? How do you find yourself doing a selection process?

Mr Williamson : I don't think so. There's no selection process from our end. Any arts centre that's a member of Desart can participate in Desert Mob. Arts centres are also aware that to participate in Desert Mob you need to produce a certain calibre of work. It's not purely fine art but it's essentially an art exhibition whose focus is fine art. Arts centres are limited to selecting for the exhibition10 works that represent their art centre. On average we have 30 art centres participating, so we could have up to 300 artworks in the exhibition.

From talking with arts centres and artists, we know artists are very eager to participate in Desert Mob. They want to have their works seen alongside those of their contemporaries and by the broader market and public. It's a great celebration for them and it's an opportunity for critique. I often see it as similar to being in an art school, where you produce works and you critique works with your colleagues. The artists do that as well within Desert Mob, and that generates amazing conversations and stories, and memories of country or travels or the stories that the country holds. Artists are very committed to it. That's the key driver really.

Ms CLAYDON: Do you have specific agreements with the artists, or are you relying on the arts centres, who've got the agreements with the artists?

Mr Williamson : We have a contract in place between Araluen and the arts centre. The arts centre represents the artists and then the arts centre managers work with the artists to determine which artists will be represented in Desert Mob. The artists have great agency in that. The works are then supplied to us, and my role as curator is to bring all those 30 different bodies of work into a curated hang that accentuates the works and tells a story about artistic development from this region.

Ms CLAYDON: My final question is whether you've had to deal with concerns around inauthentic art reaching into that market. You house the Namatjira gallery here, and there have been some quite recent and famous copyright discussions going on for that family. They had quite a celebrated victory recently around that. Are you, at any level, aware of the existence of inauthentic art in your higher end market, and, if so, what role, if any, would you play in reporting or in advising and assisting artists and families?

Mr Williamson : I'm aware of the conversations around that and how important it is to Aboriginal artists from this region. I'm not aware of any fake art, and I'm not sure of the potential for fake art to come into a Desert Mob scenario. The art centres control what's exhibited and what's sold at the marketplace. I'm aware of instances where artists have been taken out of community to paint for private dealers. That's not fake art, but it's certainly a conversation that I'm aware of—artists are exploited. But I think the risk of fate art coming into Araluen or into Desert Mob is very low. I don't see how it could happen, but if it did happen we would take steps to change that. We would talk with Desart and the art centre managers.

Ms CLAYDON: That other area is perhaps not so overtly fake art, but, nonetheless, an exploitative and unethical practice might be taking place. We've heard that there have been instances of that in this region. Who steps into the breach? Who plays the role of breaking up that model as a business model in the region?

Mr Williamson : That's a good question, and I'm not quite sure of the answer. I don't think there's any clear answer to that. I know that it's usually the artist's family member who steps in. Sometimes the artist's family will also be involved in that process of the artist being taken out of the community to paint, whereas other parts of the family would be against that. It's usually the family members who don't support that who would intervene in some way. They would be concerned about mistreatment of the artist and whether they are being cared for and fed and the like. I'm not sure where they take that information—whether they go to the authorities or whether they go to Desart. I'm not sure what position the authorities would have, unless there was—

Ms CLAYDON: If a body of work was suddenly presented to you from a well-known artist, but it was produced in conditions that would be, at best, questionable, would an alarm bell go off for you—if a body of work turned up but not through an art centre for this artist? How would you know that that work might have been produced under duress of some sort—or, even if not duress, through an arrangement that was exploitative and far from best practice?

Mr Williamson : I guess I would know through experience and through knowing some of those people indirectly. Each art centre has a particular way that their works are identified—often it's a standardised format. There are quite a number of different formats, but art centres are known for a format of painting. Papunya Tula, for example, works with the old feet measurements. It's immediately recognisable through the dimensions. Each art centre also writes on the canvass the name of the art centre, usually an art centre code to indicate the work's been accessioned, sizing, artist's name—all that important information. A work that hasn't come through those means would be recognisable because it's a different coding system. You tend to know the code system that each art centre implements. The quality of material would be a factor; art centres generally would use a higher quality material. So that's another indicator—if the material isn't of high quality. Arts centres will generally paint on a stretched canvass, or a canvass that definitely has a border left on it so it can be stretched. If a work comes in and it has no border, alarm bells ring. Photographs of the artists posing with a painting get the alarm bells ringing.

Ms CLAYDON: And you would pause and not purchase because these alarm bells are going off?

Mr Williamson : That's correct. We generally don't purchase through those means for the collection. We would only acquire works for the collection through art centres or galleries with—

Ms CLAYDON: Being a member of the code requires you to do so.

Mr Williamson : That's to ensure that we're getting not only a genuine but also the best possible artwork to be part of the collection.

ACTING CHAIR: Mark, do you have any other observations that you want to make?

Dr Crees : One of the ways to counter some of the things that you are talking about with the unethical practice is to ensure that there is a platform for ethically produced art to be sold. When Desert Mob began it began with three specific aims: to promote and increase audiences for Aboriginal artists and their art centres from Central Australia; to stimulate the art market for Central Australian Aboriginal art; and to place artists and art centres in the spotlight. That's why it began. It began to create a platform or a mechanism for sale. The partnership with Desart, which has been since the mid-2000s, has been to ensure that. That partnership is absolutely critical to everything that we do. The integrity of what we do is because of that co-designed, co-delivered program hand in hand with Desart. That's really important. It's an important model that the government has in terms of programs, and it must be place based, co-designed and co-delivered—and that's what Desert Mob is.

Over the past couple of years we've seen an increase in sales of around 61 per cent. That shows the confidence of the market returning in Central Australia in particular. As Stephen mentioned earlier, the market bottomed out during the global financial crisis. But we have now actually seen higher sales figures than we saw at the height of the entire market. So we are actually above that now—and, in the marketplace, in particular, that's just four hours. So the amount of turnover in the four hours is an incredible opportunity. So when people come here for Desert Mob—the 10,000 plus people who come—they know they are coming to be immersed in an experience of Aboriginal culture and art, and this keeps culture strong.

Not last year but the year before we had Marlene Rubuntja speak at the opening night, and she said how wonderful it was to have everyone, all the artists, together, because by being together we are strong. Desert Mob has provided a platform for this since 1991, and then spurred off that in many ways all the other ones around the country, whether it is Tarnanthi, Cairns Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair or the other spaces that are taking off. In some ways, this is like the granddaddy of it. It started off in 1991 with an absolutely ethical model of integrity and was around stimulating the market and co-design and co-delivery, working hand in hand with Aboriginal people, who are given the agency always. We never choose the artwork in Desert Mob; they choose the artwork that they want to put in the show and they give it to Stephen to curate. Stephen's genius is in creating space around the works and the body of works to tell a narrative during the Desert Mob experience, but the artists have absolute agency on what they put into that particular show. Their confidence has grown so much that we are seeing larger canvasses and more expensive canvasses being purchased by major galleries and internationally more and more. Last year, the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, the USA, Switzerland, Belgium and every state and territory in Australia were here for Desert Mob.

ACTING CHAIR: Plus the locals.

Dr Crees : And the locals—many, many locals.

Ms CLAYDON: It's really a very successful model. One of our terms of reference is in fact looking at the options to promote the authentic product into the market and what platforms are available. You've shown leadership, by the sound of it, with a lot of other centres or geographical centres of Australia taking up the model.

ACTING CHAIR: No, not 'showing' leadership—the leadership.

Ms CLAYDON: Providing the leadership. Should there be more Desert Mobs? Is it being an annual thing that makes it work? Are there other models that we should be looking at supporting?

Dr Crees : There's a lot of activity in the market now. Tarnanthi will take place every two years, but the art fair component at Tarnanthi will be going annual, I believe, now. So, every year in Adelaide there will be a fair. You've already mentioned WA. Cairns is huge. Darwin is incredibly strong, in terms of the amount of Aboriginal art sold throughout the period there, but that's broader. We're very specific, though. Part of the specificity of Desert Mob is that it's only Desart art centres. It's up to 45 art centres from NT, SA and WA—only from that region—which is broadly Central Australian art, in the broad use of that terminology. That's the art that's here. People come here specifically to experience that art immersed in the culture of the people that are creating that art and their visual culture. That's part of the Desert Mob model: it's around immersion and it's around the importance of culture and the importance of artists being here on site, in the place that the movement was born and the place where a lot of it responds to. That's the model here.

The ethics around it are what are so important for us. That's why it's hand in hand with Desart. They're an absolute partner in everything that we do. We have meetings constantly. Philip Watkins, as the CEO, and I meet a lot, in general, about things, but we also meet as a group constantly around what we're going to do for this year, what's going to happen, how we're going to feed into different marketing strategies—all kinds of things—because it's a genuine co-delivered and co-designed program.

Ms CLAYDON: Thank you.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you. If there is no other commentary on that—Stephen?

Mr Williamson : Can I just comment on that question: should we have more Desert Mobs? I think there's a risk of oversupply, or too many demands being placed on art centres. There are already a lot of demands. NATSIAA started and then Desert Mob started a few years later. Since then a number of other events have started around the country. I think it's a good mix of events. Each one has a unique aspect about them—Desert Mob, definitely; just the whole nature of it is unique. I think it's really important that each one is quite an individual event. If you flood the market, there's a risk that the value of artworks will be reduced, the demand for artworks will also be reduced, and the pressure on artists to produce more and more artworks wouldn't be good either. I think that, at the moment, it feels like a good balance, a good mix, of events. It still gives art centres opportunities to submit works to major art prizes around the country and to win major art prizes as well. But I think it's important to protect the fine art movement that is so central to Aboriginal art. If you flood that, there's a risk that it could just all start to unravel and move into a different type of art.

ACTING CHAIR: I think there's a genuine—

Ms CLAYDON: cautionary note

ACTING CHAIR: There's a genuine point you made about the capacity of a lot of the art centres to be able to manage doing more than one. Some are bigger than others, so it's very difficult to manage expectations, apart from anything else. Mark, do you have anything else you wanted to say?

Dr Crees : No, just that this is a wonderful example of the cultural and financial independence of remote Indigenous communities. In terms of closing the gap strategies this is one, that we can see on the ground here, which is achieving phenomenal results. These are people on country, on land, working and producing amazing artwork but also being able to keep their culture strong and tell their story. It's incredibly important for this to be promoted and protected as an industry, because of that very factor. Some other targets maybe haven't been as successful as others but, in terms of these communities, it's the integral driver of their own ability to have economic and cultural independence. That's something that we should be very much celebrating and promoting more on a national scale.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you very much for providing us with this space so we can be here, in the first place, and it's a pleasure to have you here, so thank you.

Committee adjourned at 15:02