Fake Aboriginal Art company slapped with $2.3 million fine
Art Business

Fake Aboriginal Art company slapped with $2.3 million fine

An Australian business caught selling fake Aboriginal art has been fined $2.3 million dollars in a federal court ruling today, highlighting a thriving black-market that exploits and expropriates Indigenous culture. Brisbane company Birubi Art was found to have breached Australian consumer law and to have misled its customers by promoting products as genuine Aboriginal art when thousands of its pieces were in fact made in factories in Indonesia. The penalty is the largest of its kind ever awarded by the Federal Court and comes after a 2018 60 Minutes investigation that exposed the Australian businesses importing fake artefacts from Indonesia to sell in Australian souvenir stores. Mass-produced boomerangs and didgeridoos made in Indonesia were marketed as an Australian product. (60 Minutes) 60 Minutes went undercover in six different Balinese factories suspected of supplying to Australian businesses – finding mass-produced boomerangs and didgeridoos being sold as ‘hand-made Australia’. Today’s ruling is likely to be welcomed by the Aboriginal art community, whose work is lauded in galleries from New York to Paris but which is largely sustained by the sale of works to tourists prepared to pay a premium for genuine pieces. This industry is also a lifeblood for indigenous communities […]

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