Quoted from the paper:
Despite allegations of corruption and fraud, the Aboriginal art market continues to flourish. Early paintings fetch increasingly higher prices, while indigenous art centres maintain a steady supply of new works. This frenzied activity is of course, largely driven by white collectors. The promoters and managers of this burgeoning industry are also overwhelmingly white, as are the critics, curators and academics who write about Aboriginal art. With such intensive non-Aboriginal involvement, one could be forgiven for thinking that Aboriginal art is a ‘white thing’, as Aboriginal artist, Richard Bell has declared (1).
In this paper, I argue that Aboriginal art is neither a black or white thing, but a ‘cross-cultural’ phenomenon. Driven by a heavily mediated dialogue between its white consumers and black producers, I also argue that this intensive trans-cultural conversation shapes the form, content and the meaning of Aboriginal art. While the spending power of whites and the economic needs of blacks has played a fundamental role in generating and maintaining this dialogue, I would prefer to characterise it in gentler terms: as a kind of cross-cultural romance, in which the respective partners remain attached to each other through a mutually beneficial web of illusion and fantasy.
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