From boomerangs to didgeridoos, Aboriginal art is a huge part of Aussie culture.

Aboriginal Art Directory | 29.08.10

Aboriginal paintings and crafts often hang in souvenir shops and art galleries around the country.

But over the past few years fake Aboriginal art and craft has been brought in from overseas.

As Kirsty explains this wave of cheap imports has got the local industry fighting for its future.
KIRSTY BENNETT, REPORTER: Aboriginal art reflects the look and feel of Australia. Whether it's through the landscape or animals, Aboriginal artists often show their strong connection to the land. So you'd think this art could only be crafted by Aboriginal hands. Well, that's no longer the case. Instead some of these pieces are being made beyond Australia's shores.

They're being imported from several countries including Vietnam, China and Indonesia. These countries are making their own versions of Australian Aboriginal art and selling them here for a much cheaper price.

LIONEL PHILLIPS, ARTIST: Didgeridoos, clap sticks, boomerangs all that sort of stuff. It's made over there. It has to stop.

KIRSTY: So why is the industry so worried?

Murra Wolka Creations is one business that's struggling to stay afloat because of the fake imports from Asia. The business has been around for twenty years but this extra competition has meant it's had to lay off staff. Fake artwork is often mass produced, and that means it can be sold at a much cheaper price in souvenir shops in Australia.

KIRSTY: I bought all this stuff for twenty bucks. I'm not sure how many of these products are made in Australia. Like this has a sticker on the back that says "Made in China". And this one has Australia all over it but with a little bit of effort I could probably scratch it off!

But it's not always easy to tell the difference. And often people are fooled by misleading packaging or a convincing fake.

LIONEL PHILLIPS, ARTIST: We've got tourists coming in and they're none the wiser, they don't know. They haven't got a clue what is authentic and what's not and if they get told that it is, 'Okay, we'll buy it'.


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