An important article appeared in The Australian a week or so ago. Almost inevitably, it was penned by Nicolas Rothwell, the paper’s Darwin-based master of prose and Indigenous insight.

Somehow, he’d got wind of a closed meeting of Desart, the body that represents 45 desert-orientated Aboriginal community art centres. In the past, this body has had an arrogance that put off outsiders, though it has won an exclusivity with institutions that was clearly designed to cut uncompliant dealers out of the market for exciting artworks from places like the APY Lands, Balgo Hills and Mulan, and The Pilbara.

At it, Desart CEO Philip Watkins addressed the threats he perceived from a greatly increased number of art centres “ all currently loss-making and publicly funded “ and declining sales. The public purse might not remain open, transparency needed to be increased, and Indigenous management needed to become the norm in a reduced number of centres.

It was radical stuff “ shocking thoughts for the well-housed and reliably-paid cohort of white co-ordinators operating amongst both cultural riches and personal poverty.

Please read Nicolas Rothwell’s report for more:
Go to the article

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