Governments to scrutinise Aboriginal art authenticity
The South Australian government will lead an inquiry into the authenticity of Aboriginal art, following allegations non-Indigenous arts staff have interfered with works by Indigenous artists.
In April, The Australian newspaper published allegations that non-Indigenous workers from APY Art Centre Collective had painted on works by Aboriginal artists.
The collective has "strenuously" denied the accusations, saying they are false and defamatory.
It is currently preparing for a major exhibition of works from the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands at the National Gallery of Australia.
The review will be jointly funded by the South Australian and federal governments with the support of the Northern Territory government.
The terms of reference are yet to be decided but the inquiry will examine what occurred at the centre and how to ensure the integrity of Aboriginal art.
"The provenance and the integrity of Aboriginal art and its offering around the country and internationally is absolutely essential to Aboriginal communities," SA Premier Peter Malinauskas told reporters in Adelaide.
The review will also probe the authenticity of Indigenous art produced in the Northern Territory.
"It's not intended to be a comprehensive system-wide review of Aboriginal art per se but specifically looking at the integrity of it in light of the allegations that have been made," Mr Malinauskas said.
Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke met with his South Australian and Northern Territory counterparts on Monday.
"The allegations that have surfaced are concerning and all three governments are determined to protect the integrity of First Nations art," SA Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said.
"We are committed to supporting First Nations artists to share their art with the world and ensuring respect for their culture and stories is incredibly important."
An independent review of the art to be exhibited in the National Gallery of Australia's forthcoming Ngura Pulka - Epic Country show is already under way and is expected to be completed by the end of May.
The gallery has described Ngura Pulka - Epic Country as "one of the largest and most significant First Nations community-driven art projects to have ever been developed".
"All parts of Ngura Pulka are being entirely conceived, created, directed, and determined by Anangu people," the APY Art Centre Collective has said.
The major exhibition is scheduled for the Canberra gallery from June 3 until October 8.