D’C maintains strict ethical practices and exclusively sources, exhibits and sells works of art with clear provenance, to protect the artist, the buyer, and the market, from fraudulent sales or unethical procurement.
We believe Australian First Nations art and culture is one of the leading contemporary art movements in the world.
The common collective terms for artworks created by Australian First Nations artists is Australian Aboriginal Art or Australian Indigenous Art.
We are committed to adhering to evolving industry practices and public awareness through the terms we use. On this website, and in our business, we use the following collective terms when referring to the artworks, artists, and industry we specialise in:
- Australian Indigenous Art refers to the industry which supports the sale of artworks by Australian First Nations artists
- Australian First Nations artists refers to artists who identify as being of Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
- Australian Indigenous Art refers to artworks created by artists who identify as being of Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
All works of art exhibited and sold by D’Lan Contemporary have a traceable line of provenance.
Documentation we draw upon to establish provenance includes:
- Community Art Centre certificates of authenticity
- Transfer of ownership documentation
- Purchase receipts or invoices
- Inclusion in academic / art historical publications
- Inclusion in exhibitions, and exhibition catalogues (private and / or public institution)
- Collection / exhibition inventory numbers (private and / or public institution)
- Inclusion in auction catalogues
- Documented appraisals
D’Lan Contemporary’s guidance on best practice for buying Australian Indigenous art is:
Contemporary Art (1980-present)
Contemporary Australian Indigenous works of art should be accompanied by a certificate or documentation from the artist’s Community Art Centre or primary gallery/representative.
Primary market artworks should only be purchased from a Community Art Centre or an official artist gallery/representative.
Secondary market artworks should only be purchased if accompanied by provenance from a Community Art Centre or an official artist gallery/representative.
Modern Indigenous Australian Art (1950s-1980)
Many artworks from this period – including bark paintings, Hermannsberg watercolours, Papunya boards and sculptural artworks made for sale – were created prior to the establishment of Community Art Centres.
However, desirable provenance for artworks from this period includes Papunya Tula Artists, Stuart Art Centre and Maningrida Arts, or a direct link to primary collectors such as Geoffrey Bardon, Dorothy Bennett, Sandra Le Brun Holmes, or Dr. Stuart Scougall – who were all active during the 1950s-70s.
Artworks from this period with no traceable history are likely to have less market value than those that do – even if they are clearly authentic.
Artefacts and Objects (1880s-1950)
Important collection history for artefacts and objects has often been lost over time. Therefore, documented provenance can greatly impact value.
Before acquisition, research should be undertaken to ascertain the origin of the artefact or object. Our advice is to seek guidance from a trusted industry expert before buying or selling.
Protection of Moveable Cultural Heritage Act
The Protection of Moveable Cultural Heritage Act 1985 (PMCH Act) implements Australia’s obligations under the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970 (1970 UNESCO Convention) to which Australia is a State Party.
The 1970 UNESCO Convention requires State Parties to ensure that no collecting institution accepts illegally exported items.
The PMCH Act regulates the export of Australia’s most significant cultural heritage objects by implementing export controls for objects defined as ‘Australian Protected Objects’.
If you have any questions about buying or selling First Nations Australian art, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the PMCH Act, an object may be liable for return if it:
- is considered to be a protected object of a foreign country and
- was exported in contravention of that country’s cultural property law, and
- was imported into Australia after 1987 (when the PMCH Act came into force).
Importantly, the terms of the PMCH Act are understood to mean that provided a request from a foreign government meets the above requirements, the date of export of the object from the country of origin can precede the 1970 date of the 1970 UNESCO Convention if the laws protecting the export of cultural heritage were in force in that country at the time the object was exported. In addition, the PMCH Act does not limit the request being made to countries that are party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
If you have any questions about acquiring or selling Australian Indigenous Art, please contact us.