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Inquiry into Indigenous art interference claims

An inquiry will investigate claims that non-Indigenous staff at a South Australian collective interfered with works by Indigenous artists.

Quandamooka man Cameron Costello is part of a panel which will investigate allegations against an APY art cooperative. Photo: AAP/Dan Peled

Quandamooka man Cameron Costello is part of a panel which will investigate allegations against an APY art cooperative. Photo: AAP/Dan Peled

The Australian newspaper in April alleged non-Indigenous arts workers at the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Art Centre Collective had painted parts of works by Aboriginal artists.

The APY Art Centre Collective has strenuously denied allegations that any of its artists were compromised, and has committed to co-operate fully with the review.

The Malinauskas Government said in May that it would set up an inquiry into the claims.

Led by solicitor Anne Sibree, Menang woman Megan Krakouer and Quandamooka man Cameron Costello, the independent panel will investigate allegations that staff intervened in Indigenous artworks, concealed those interventions and failed to provide a safe workplace for its artists.

The newly established panel will also conduct a review into the art collective’s governance, management and practices. It will be required to refer any matters that ought to be investigated further to an appropriate body.

Allegations of misconduct were previously made by Indigenous artists and art centre workers, consisting of both current and historical claims.

SA Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said the three reviewers have the necessary skills and experience to conduct a culturally safe and independent assessment into the allegations.

“This review is about ensuring that Aboriginal artists are being respected and that the integrity of their art is being maintained,” she said in a statement.

The SA government says there will be no public hearings, and has not determined when the panel will be required to report back.

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The APYACC was established in 2017 to represent a number of Indigenous-owned and governed enterprises.

It is supported through income generated from sales of art, as well as federal and state grants.

The collective operates an art-making studio in Adelaide and has galleries in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

-AAP

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