We want people to buy and enjoy Aboriginal Art that really means something. Art is a powerful tool for social and economic enterprise, for social change and the betterment of people’s lives.
There is a lot of Aboriginal Art out there that is available through means of exploitation. Art Ark will only ever promote and sell works sourced through community and not-for-profit organisations that work in the best interests of the artists. These organisations, as a general rule, are either community-governed corporations or certified not-for-profits that facilitate the production and sale of artworks. There are around eighty of them scattered throughout some of the most remote parts of Australia and they do a great job of supporting their communities and providing a transparent avenue to access the beautiful artworks being produced.
If you wander into a gallery to ask about a work and they tell you it has been authenticated by the gallery, or another third party, then it requires further investigation. If there’s a token picture of the artist holding up the work we’d bet our bottom dollar they haven’t been paid properly. Authentication goes beyond proving the artist has painted the work: authentication also needs to define fair payment and rule out exploitation.
This is the bare bones of an incredibly complex issue but you asked for the short version. Buy art that has originated from and is authenticated by an art centre. It’s a simple fail-safe for the time conscious buyer.