Skip to main content

Law Books

Protecting Indigenous Art - From T-shirts to the Flag

Protecting Indigenous Art - From T-shirts to the FlagDiscover how copyright law is empowering Indigenous creatives

There is the country non-Indigenous people can see, and then there is the country Indigenous people see that the rest of us can barely comprehend, but glimpse through the vivid colours, shapes and imagery of the artworks, and their visual recounting of ancient stories and settings.

The unauthorised use of Indigenous artworks is a global industry that damages cultural integrity and harms the livelihoods of artists and their communities. While the western idea of private or individual ownership can be at significant odds with tenets of Indigenous ownership and control, copyright remains one of the primary tools available to protect Indigenous visual artists from fakes, cultural threat and appropriation. In Protecting Indigenous Art, leading intellectual-property barrister Colin Golvan provides a privileged insight into how legal protection of Indigenous art offers unique opportunities to empower Indigenous artists and their communities. Golvan gives a first-hand account of landmark legal campaigns such as the unauthorised reproduction of prominent Bulun Bulun artworks on to T-shirts, the seminal carpets case, the campaign to recover the copyright of Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira and the extraordinary story of the Aboriginal flag. Altogether, we get an understanding of the importance of protection for this much-loved form of artistic and cultural expression.

Pre-order Online