About The Code

The Indigenous Art Code (the Code) aims to ensure fair trade with Indigenous artists.

The Code:

  • establishes a set of standards for commercial dealing with Indigenous visual artists;
  • provides a benchmark for ethical behaviour; and
  • builds greater certainty for consumers that the artworks they buy come through ethical processes.

Commercial art dealers located in Australia or internationally, including art centres, galleries and individual dealers can show their commitment to fair and transparent business dealings with artists by becoming a Dealer Member of Indigenous Art Code Limited (IartC) and a signatory to the Code. Find out more about becoming a Dealer Member.

IartC membership is also open to Indigenous artists and any organisation or individual who is not involved in commercial dealing with artists but would like to show their support for the Code and be involved in IartC. Find out more about Indigenous Artist membership and Code Supporter membership.

Welcome from the Chair

The Indigenous visual arts industry has seen enormous growth over the last decade. It represents a significant part of Indigenous Australian culture which is proving not only intriguing and beautiful to the non Indigenous world—both here in Australia and overseas—but has become a valuable commodity which has the potential to provide significant benefit to Indigenous artists, their families and communities and Indigenous Australian people as a whole.

The majority of the Indigenous visual arts industry is doing the right thing – making fair deals with artists, being clear and transparent throughout those deals and providing support where needed. However, as the Senate Report Indigenous Art – Securing the Future highlights, there are still examples of unethical, misleading or unconscionable behaviour, which exploits individual artists, affecting not only them but their families, communities and the entire industry.

The Code is a significant step towards securing ethical trade for the industry. It establishes a set of industry standards, provides a benchmark for ethical behaviour and gives consumers greater certainty that the artworks they buy come through ethical processes.

IartC is a public company, limited by guarantee, which provides the governance and legal framework to administer the Code. In joining IartC, Dealers commit to upholding the Code. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I invite all individuals and organisations engaged in commercial trade with Indigenous artists to show their commitment to a strong and fair Indigenous visual arts industry by applying to join IartC.

It is worth pointing out that the approval process for applications will take a broadly inclusive approach.  This is very deliberate, as it is not the intention of the Code to form an exclusive club, but to raise the standards across the whole of industry. Only once a Dealer has signed up and committed to uphold the Code, can their behaviour be assessed by the requirements of the Code. In this way, we hope to change the behaviour and raise the standards of the industry as a whole – making those who choose to continue to act outside of these standards or deny the worth of the Code, more visible and more accountable for their practices.

The Board also invites Indigenous artists and supporters of the Code who are not engaged in commercial dealings with Indigenous artists to join IartC and work with us to build a strong and fair Indigenous visual arts industry.

IartC is grateful to have the backing of the Australian Government through endorsement and financial support for the next two years and appreciate the additional support committed by the Cultural Ministers Council to assist us with promotional and educational activity. It is now up to us, the industry to make the Code work.

Richard  England

 © 2015



  • 06.3.2014

    The latest newsletter is available here.  IartC Newsletter – March 2014

  • 16.9.2013

    The IartC Chair, Mr Ron Merkel QC is pleased to announce the following outcomes from the IartC Annual General Meeting held on Friday 6 September. More

  • 22.4.2013

    An update from the Chair, Ron Merkel QC, on developments towards a mandatory code of conduct in relation to Indigenous artists and art.


  • 09.1.2013

    It is with great sadness that we mark the death of Billy Missi (Pal’n) who passed away on 22 December 2012. More