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How to Choose Aboriginal Art

Last Updated: May 24, 2012 by

Topic: Interior Design, How To

Aboriginal art has been soaring in popularity over the recent years both in Australia and internationally as people recognise the strength, uniqueness and beauty of it.  It has tremendous potential in the art marketplace and people are clamouring to own these beautiful pieces.  If you’ve been intrigued by Aboriginal art and you’re thinking of buying a piece for yourself, you might be wondering how to get started. We’ve put together this guide to set you on your way but if you need any more advice, have a chat with a knowledgeable interior designer.

Choosing Artworks

Aboriginal art is an exciting field that is really starting to emerge.  The artworks range in price points and quality from reproductions through to original pieces that can fetch many thousands of dollars.  The challenge with choosing Aboriginal artworks is that it doesn’t have the same “aesthetic” as Western art does.  It has deep spiritual significance and is very firmly rooted in the Aboriginal culture.  While choosing a painting that looks good will always be important, you will really want to choose one that speaks to you personally and spiritually as well. You need to look at the strength of the meaning of the painting as most painters try to accurately tell the stories of their Dreaming.

Some other things that you may want to look at when choosing Aboriginal art is how innovative the work is, how rare it is, how consistent the quality is by individual artists, and how fresh or new it is.  You can look at one or more of these things when you are making your choice.

Buy Ethically

One thing that you want to do if you are choosing Aboriginal art for your home is to ensure that you are buying ethically.  This means ensuring that the artwork that you choose is fairly sourced from artists and that the artists are treated fairly.  Ethical standards apply whether you are buying from a gallery or dealer or from the artist direct.  Ensure that the artist is paid a fair sum for their work and that you are not knowingly buying the art for too cheap a price.  You should also make sure that the work is genuine and not a forged copy.

Important Questions to Ask

When you are choosing Aboriginal art, there are some very important questions that you’ll want to ask.  These include:
  • Is the artwork authentic and correctly documented?
  • Does the work come from a reputable source?
  • Is the gallery or dealer that you are buying from (if you’re not buying direct) a member of the Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association or the Australian Commercial Galleries Association?
  • What is the reputation of the artist?
  • Can the artwork be resold in the future (if this matters to you)?

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