Flawed vision cops pasting

Posted by Aboriginal Art Directory | 06.09.09

THE widow of painter John Brack is ambivalent about it. Wendy Whiteley says in theory it is a good thing. Gallery owner William Mora, who has an enduring interest in the paintings by his artist mother, Mirka, says while he supports the idea morally, the federal government's proposed resale royalty scheme for artists will be difficult to administrate.

Who'd have thought Arts Minister Peter Garrett's plan to boost income for artists and their estates could generate such a divided response, even among those set to benefit most?

"For just about every artist (the legislation) is of dubious value, except possibly for indigenous artists," says painter John R Walker. "It's the old adage about special causes make bad law."

Walker was outspoken against the legislation when it was drafted earlier this year. On the eve of it being signed off by the House of Representatives, as is expected when parliament resumes next week, before what is expected to be a smooth passage through the Senate, Walker is resolute that the resale royalty scheme could harm the very artists it is intended to aid.

"The reason why it's not going to benefit anybody is because when I sell an artwork I get 60 per cent," he says.

Walker argues that if the 5 per cent royalty causes just one person to not buy one of his works, it would take the resale royalty on a dozen paintings to make up for that lost sale.

Garrett intends the resale royalty scheme to benefit indigenous artists in particular, but the industry is divided about the extent to which that will happen. Indigenous artists are, however, likely to be the first to see any possible returns when selling directly through community-owned art centres.

Under the scheme, which will be managed by a central administration, a flat 5 per cent royalty would go to the artist or their estate at the second resale after the legislation is introduced. For existing works, it will not apply to the first transaction after the legislation but for all subsequent sales.

The royalty is uncapped, and will cover works resold during an artist's lifetime and for 70 years after their death. Artists can also elect to opt out of the scheme for individual paintings.

URL: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26022403-16947,00.html


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