Reasons we paint: Indigenous artists speak on tampering allegations

Indigenous artists and art centre workers voice their thoughts on APY Lands art tampering allegations.

Last weekend, The Australian newspaper published a series of shocking allegations of bad practice at an APY (Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands art centre. The investigation alleges that some white arts workers at the centre have been painting and altering Indigenous artists’ work to suit particular sales markets.

While concerning, many in the industry are now expressing concern that the allegations could see undue collateral damage spread through the industry, which would threaten decades of investment in what are in fact some of the most ethical support structures for thousands of Aboriginal artists in remote Australia.

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ArtsHub's Arts Feature Writer Jo Pickup is based in Perth. An arts writer and manager, she has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for media such as the ABC, RTRFM and The West Australian newspaper, contributing media content and commentary on art, culture and design. She has also worked for arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, STRUT dance, and the Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub of WA, as well as being a sessional arts lecturer at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).