Helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to protect their intellectual property from misuse and appropriation is the foremost objective of the Arts Law Centre’s ‘Artists in the Black’ program, which Colin Biggers & Paisley notes it is a “longstanding” supporter of.
In 2017, the firm put together a team of trekkers to take on the Top End Challenge and raised over $60,000 to allow Arts Law to employ a new full-time lawyer to work with ‘Artists in the Black’.
This year’s challenge, which starts next week, will see a team of 13 firm members – together with Arts Law chief executive Robyn Ayres – trek more than 50km across Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Watarrka, in an expedition that will include a range of opportunities for cultural immersion and has been designed to support as many Aboriginal-owned businesses as possible, the firm said.
“Each of us has committed to raising at least $3,000 each and it is our goal to raise enough to allow Arts Law to keep the full-time lawyer,” CBP managing partner Nick Crennan said.
“This program makes such an important contribution to autonomy and resilience in these communities, offering these artists hope and opportunity.”
“It is a wonderful cause and we are very committed to supporting it,” he added.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists’ creations are not only a source of income but an expression of their culture, the firm noted in a statement.
“Unfortunately, solicitors working with ‘Artists in the Black’ have seen exploitation of these artists, including reproduction of artworks without the artist’s permission, withholding of royalties owed and copyright infringement,” the firm said.
“These breaches are not only emotionally devastating, they can also have a profoundly negative effect on their community and bring great shame to the artist and their family.”
Through providing free or low-cost specialist legal resources, ‘Artists in the Black’ can support and strengthen the indigenous arts sector, the firm argued.