Leaders in Wagga’s Aboriginal community are calling for new laws to stop fake Indigenous art and artifacts being sold as the real deal.
This comes after shoppers discovered “made in Indonesia” stickers on $59.95 copy didgeridoos at Ishka, a national home decor chain, on Baylis Street.
Wagga artist and Wiradjuri elder Aunty Kath Withers said it was simply wrong make copy art and artifacts just for a profit.
“They’re selling it as Aboriginal art and it’s not – it’s not made by Aboriginal people, it’s not even made in Australia or painted in Australia,” Aunty Kath said.
“To me, that’s like fraud – Aboriginal art should not be sold as such unless it’s made by Aboriginal people.”
Aunty Kath said it was time for lawmakers to give Aboriginal artists and communities some protection and stop the widespread and mass manufacturing of fake artworks.
“It makes me quite angry and I’ve always had an opinion on it – it’s disrespectful to our culture and it shouldn’t be allowed,” she said.
“They need to bring in a law to stop this and make sure all Aboriginal art is certified as such.”
Not all copy artworks and artifacts are so up-front with where they were made, with local elders catching some people simply photocopying real Aboriginal artworks and reselling them as their own.
At just 19-years-old, local Wiradjuri artist Tyronne Hoerler has already had his artworks featured publicly in Wagga and even overseas.
Mr Hoerler said fraudulent art is not only disrespectful, but it also undermines the efforts of authentic Aboriginal artists in our region.
“It is disrespectful to Aboriginal people because they’re making a profit off our culture,” Mr Hoerler said.
“At one stage, you could only buy authentic art – now, you can go anywhere, and any shop sells fake products.”
Mr Hoerler also had some advice for Wagga locals who wanted to purchase real Aboriginal artworks.
“Always ask around, because there are a lot of people who know what’s real, like our Wiradjuri elders,” he said.
“You can always ask, because we’ll know if its fake or if it has just been printed off a computer or photocopied.”
The Daily Advertiser contacted Ishka’s head office for comment, but is yet to hear back from them.