How does the secondary market really benefit artists and what more can be done?
Confidence is the main driving force in any market.
When a masterful and large scale work by Warlimpirrnga sold at Sotheby’s in London last year for 167,000 GBP (more than doubling its lower estimate) it made international headlines. It was thrilling to see an artist, still living and working in Kiwirrkura, achieve such an incredible price for his work at auction - and in front of an international audience no less. It demonstrated a renewed level of confidence in the Australian Indigenous art market.
But there was also an immediate and short-sighted backlash following the sale, arguing that the artist and his family saw no direct benefit from this international result.