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Time to crack down on fake Aboriginal art

International tourists would be lectured about authentic Aboriginal artwork on all inbound flights under a new proposal to crack down on cheap knock-offs.

A recommendation to introduce an authentic art information guide to be shown on every inbound flight to Australia was made in a report to the Federal Government last month into the impact of fake art on Aboriginal people.

Prominent Noongar artist Sandra Hill said the impact hit young artists who did not yet have the support or profile to get their work recognised hardest.

“These guys don’t get a leg up because they are not being helped in their own country,” she said. “When these works are being done overseas and sold so cheaply, that is our intellectual property, our spirit, our heart, that is what hurts me the most.

“It’s the lack of knowledge — that is why our work is being stolen so easily.”

Ms Hill welcomed calls to provide inbound tourists with information about fake art but said the government needed to go further and ban it all together.

The standing committee on indigenous affairs report found up to 80 per cent of Aboriginal art sold in Australia is fake and held no benefit to the communities it drew inspiration from.

It made eight recommendations mostly aimed at boosting funding and information for authentic art, but stopped short of calling for a ban on imitation art.

Report chairwoman Ann Sudmalis said the misappropriation of indigenous culture could not be allowed to continue.

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