MEDIUM: Synthetic polymer paints / crushed shells on linen
PRICE: $12,000 +gst
Originally created 2015, this piece is a rare diversion from my usual style. However, it personally stands as one of my most important artworks to date. Metaphorically, this raises the question of commercial commodification v’s cultural integrity. We exhibit an artwork within a commercial space, if fortunate enough to achieve a sale of the work, an adhesive ‘red dot’ is applied to the wall adjacent the artwork. The simple superficial action of ‘point of sale’ masks a plethora of machinations pertinent to the operations of the commercial art world. I’ve reworked it to include a ‘target’ adding to the metaphor.
My 2022 Archibald Prize winning painting ‘Moby Dickens’ featured leaking buckets held by the subject Karla Dickens. These buckets signified the 50% commission attained by upper tier commercial galleries operating in the domestic market today. I’ve tried in vein to call for a ‘round table’ discussion on re-setting this percentage to a generic 40%, where it was a decade ago. I’d taken my request directly to NAVA immediately after winning the prize. To date… this request has fallen on deaf ears.
The Aboriginal Art market is dominated by the adherence to the stereotype of both Western Desert ‘dot painting’ style and Top End ‘cross hatching’. For the past two decades, the art from APY Lands has grossed the most by far in sales of art in Australia. Sadly and perhaps through desperation, the plagiarised dot painting style remains the most practiced by artists of the South East regions. This ‘band wagon’ allegiance to a highly contemporary rendition has become a self inflicted wound. Save for but a select few, the emergence of progressive westernised practices are left waining and wanting for the support, nurturing and acceptance of the ‘other’.
The question begs… should First Nations artists even be charged a commission on their work given that, the exploitative commercial Australian at market could not possibly survive without the product reluctant of “culture”.
Blak Douglas, 2023