Aboriginal artists break into Indian market

Aboriginal Art Directory | 09.04.09

An excerpt from AM:

TONY EASTLEY: While the global economic slowdown has taken the heat out of art sales right around the world, two Central Australian Aboriginal artists are in New Delhi this week hoping to to break into India's lucrative art market.

An art centre in Central Australia has teamed up with an Indian curator to set up one of the first commercial Australian Aboriginal art exhibitions held in India.

Michael Coggan reports from New Delhi.

(Sound of art dealer speaking)

MICHAEL COGGAN: From the Tanami Road to Chandi Chowk, two Central Australian Aboriginal artists are on a shopping expedition in the narrow alleys of Old Delhi.

(Sound of art dealer speaking)

Husband and wife, Ormay Gallagher and Otto Sims, are buying clothes to wear to the opening of an exhibition of Aboriginal dot paintings in New Delhi.

They're also here to do some selling.

OTTO SIMS: We're in New Delhi showcasing our art, and in the meantime, in the same time, we get to sell our paintings to whoever buys the painting and meet other people and tell them about our culture back in Australia.

MICHAEL COGGAN: The exhibition of works painted by artists in the remote community of Yuendumu has been put together by the Warlukurlangu Art Centre and the Australian-based art collector and curator, Durga Vishwanathan.

DURGA VISHWANATHAN: The prices of these paintings are very competitive as compared to Indian artists, so contemporary Indian art is very much more expensive compared to these artworks, and these artworks are just as good.

MICHAEL COGGAN: The global economic downturn is biting in India, but Durga Vishwanathan believes the local art market is riding out the turmoil.

DURGA VISHWANATHAN: I think in India the prices of any artwork have not come down.

You cannot sort of say 'it's a recession' and 'I'm willing to give you money for this and less money' and 'can we do a deal'.

They just say if you don't buy it somebody else will.

So, it's pretty strong.

MICHAEL COGGAN: Cecilia Alfonso, the coordinator of the Yuendumu Art Centre, says despite the economic hard times, there's growing international interest in Aboriginal art, and it's important to build on that to ensure Aboriginal artists can continue to earn a living through their work.

CECILIA ALFONSO: I think we're preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

URL: http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2008/s2536683.htm

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Contact Details

Gallery: Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Association
Contact: Cecilia Alfonso
Email: info@warlu.com
Telephone: +61 8 8956 4133
Address: LPO Yuendumu via Alice Springs Yuendumu 0872 NT



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