Carpetbaggers are on the rise again, threatening Aboriginal art centres

In calling out carpetbaggers, art centres remind us that we all have a role to play in ensuring best practice and the protection of our First Nation artists and communities.

Carpetbaggers, opportunists, white traders – they are thorny terms that have plagued the Aboriginal art market since the 1970s. As we have become more cognisant and respectful of Indigenous makers rights – and the vital role that Aboriginal art centres play in sustaining community and cultural life – the situation has eased in recent years.

However, Skye O’Meara, Manager of APY Art Centre Collective (APYACC) believes that Aboriginal art centres are again under threat, as the international interest in Aboriginal art is forging new highs.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina