Fake Art Harms Aboriginal Culture Campaign

It’s been two weeks since I was in Sydney, and a week since we returned from Canberra for the Fake Art Harms campaign. I was originally heading there to participate in the Indigenous Professionals Closing the Gap event with the Prime Minister. But, as a representative on Viscopy and FACCI, I headed to Canberra to participate in a day of lobbying as part of the Fake Art Harms Culture campaign. Other members of the delegation included Indigenous Art Code, ArtsLaw, and ANKAA.  Continue reading “Fake Art Harms Aboriginal Culture Campaign”

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Business & Innovation Reference Group

Today we had our second meeting of the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business and Innovation Reference group.  Continue reading “Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Business & Innovation Reference Group”

Fake Art Harms Culture #fakeartharms

I flew to Sydney for a meeting of the Fake Art Harms Culture working group. Facilitated by Indigenous Art Code and Arts Law, and with Viscopy the campaign was designed to draw attention to the proliferation of fake Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art being produced overseas and in Australia, and the sold in Australia. Continue reading “Fake Art Harms Culture #fakeartharms”

One William Street, Brisbane

Earlier in the year I was asked to join the Minister Leeanne Enoch’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business and Innovation Reference Group. The Reference Group will be formed for 12 months and will meet 4 times in 2017. It’s the first Reference Group of its nature – for business – ever established in Queensland. There are representatives from all across Queensland and across different sectors. Continue reading “One William Street, Brisbane”

If you build it, they don’t always come: when does having a Facebook page not really work for your client?

For the past month I’ve been negotiating undertaking training for some Gold Coast/South Brisbane Indigenous business owners in the construction industry. With the upcoming Commonwealth Games, governments are trying to ensure that there’s room for Indigenous business owners to take advantage of any opportunities. Most of the blokes (at this stage they’re exclusively men) are small owner-operators. Tonight I had my first one-on-one training session. He was a good hard-working guy who is strong in his trade but isn’t confident using the computer nor social media. Continue reading “If you build it, they don’t always come: when does having a Facebook page not really work for your client?”

But where is the money going? When Black Business is expected to be a charity?

I’ve been operating a business in some form or another since 1994. We started out delivering Goori (Indigenous) studies to schools. Then we created and sold books. Today we’re selling books, shirts, and services (websites, graphic design etc) and a bit of art work. All is good. We seem to manage to ride the peaks and troughs of small business. But over the twenty-odd years of being in trade, every year there’s some friggin peanut and their racist (and high and mighty) ideology who will expect you to justify your business.

Over the years I’ve had all kinds of comments about how my business, because it’s Aboriginal, should somehow be free.

“Aboriginal art shouldn’t be for sale …. “
“… but where is the money going?”
“… this (book) should be free …”

Um what?

  1. For a start, I’m not running a charity. If you want to endow me with a couple of billion, I’d be happy to run a charity for you. But you’re not, so keep walking dude.
  2. Where’s the money going? It’s going to put petrol in my car, pay my electricity bill, buy food for my family, pay my mortgage.  Or maybe it’s going into a nice hairdo, or that cool jacket I really want to buy, or it’s going to a holiday. But really it’s none of your fucking business where I spend my money. I own the business (yes, I started and OWN this business with my sweat and dollars) and the only one who gets a claim on my revenue is the Tax Office.
  3. Apparently Aboriginal art should be made free to all and sundry because of it’s spiritual meaning. Yeah? Well that canvas just cost me $1000, so you can stick this spiritual piece of charcoal up to goona-hole.
Why is an Indigenous product expected to hold a great virtue than an non-Indigenous product? Why do we have to wear the pressure of being a charity or ‘above the mighty dollar’?
If you haven’t noticed before, we live in a capitalist system – there’s no free petrol, electricity, food, clothing, or medical bills. We pay the same amount for these things as you do.
Our intellectual property (that goes into designs and the content we create), is also not free. Why should it be? If you think it is, then aren’t you just a coloniser? You take Aboriginal land, now you expect to take Aboriginal intellectual property?
For the past two and a half-decades I’ve done volunteer work in community organisations. I’ve paid my dues. All the while I’ve kept building a business. I do it for myself (it makes me feel good to build something), and I do it to provide for my family.
If you want to change ‘the system’, fine go ahead. But while you’re doing that, don’t expect me to work for free.

In Flight Mode. Indigenous business supplying the nation

One quick post (literally) from the plane at Brisbane airport. I’m on my way to Sydney for Connect 2016 – the annual Supply Nation Trade Show and Awards Event.

Continue reading “In Flight Mode. Indigenous business supplying the nation”