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National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association

Policy and Objectives

NIAAA is a national indigenous arts and cultural service and advocacy association which advocates for the continued and increased recognition and protection of the rights of Indigenous artists. NIAAA also provides culturally appropriate advice, information, referrals and support services to Indigenous artists and organisations.

NIAAA supports initiatives for change to recognise and protect all forms of Indigenous artistic and cultural expression.

NIAAA aims to increase the awareness of these policies throughout the broader community through undertaking large-scale `flagship' projects, for example the `Carpets Case' litigation and the development of the `Label of Authenticity' trade mark. The success of such projects provides Indigenous artists with significant inroads towards the ultimate cultural and legal protection of their works of art.

NIAAA also envisages that through greater awareness, education and protection of the rights of Indigenous artists, professional opportunities to Indigenous artists in all artforms will be encouraged and increased.

The National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association (NIAAA) is concerned about the number of non-Indigenous artists, writers and performers that have been incorporating Indigenous Australian cultural expression into their works.

Images such as the rainbow serpent have been employed by non-Indigenous artists in their artwork. Specific Indigenous styles have also been used such as the rarrk and x-ray styles. Even more flagrant is the usage of sacred images such as the wandjina and the distortion of significant cultural items such as the Torres Strait Islander head-dress. These are distinctly Indigenous images and designs and are associated with central themes in Indigenous Australian cultures.

The National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Association is an organisation that advocates for the greater recognition and acceptance of the legal and cultural rights of Indigenous artists. In line with International developments concerning the rights of World Indigenous peoples, specifically the principles and guidelines of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Economic and Social Council's Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, NIAAA strongly urges non-Indigenous artists, writers and performers to respect the cultural and spiritual significance of Indigenous people and refrain from incorporating elements derived from Indigenous cultural heritage into their works without the informed consent of the traditional custodians. It is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have control over the development of their own forms of artistic and cultural expression, as well as its interpretation and use by others.

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© 1998 National Indigenous Arts Advocacy Assocication Inc.
Level 7, 1 Francis Street, East Sydney NSW 2010
Telephone: 02-93313777 Facsimile: 02-93318988