Provenance is precious: CIAF committed to ethical and authentic marketplace for Indigenous art

CIAF-Artistic-Director-Francoise-Lane-photo-by-Blueclick-PhotographyQueensland’s quintessential celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture and peak Indigenous led organisation, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has reinforced its commitment to providing an ethical and authentic marketplace in the wake of media reports relating to interference damaging the integrity of Australia’s Indigenous art practice.

In response to an investigative report and a series of articles published in The Australian newspaper this week CIAF’s Artistic Director Francoise Lane said “Provenance of Indigenous art is precious, and integrity must be protected,” she said.

“When ethics are compromised in art practice such as those instances reported, livelihoods of remote Indigenous artists are made even more vulnerable, and the damage can be far reaching – affecting the reputation and perceptions of an entire industry.”

“It cannot be understated that the voices of Indigenous artists are heard and those who are courageous enough to speak up, are heard,” said Ms Lane.

Since its inception in 2009, CIAF always has and always will be committed to providing an ethical and authentic marketplace to purchase art, craft and cultural artefacts made by Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

According to Ms Lane, Indigenous art is a powerful form of expression, cultural exchange, and intergenerational knowledge sharing.

“Art can be a catalyst for change, a form of communication and vehicle for commentary or sentiment about politics of the day or social issues affecting everyday lives. It provides a passion and gives joy. In essence, fake art harms culture,” she said.

According to Ms Lane, CIAF operates by a rigorous set of principles to ensure authenticity but encourages buyers to also take responsibility.

“For instance, when acquiring Indigenous art buyers should always ask a series of questions about the artist and ensure the artist’s voice and moral rights are upheld,” she said.

“Organisations like CIAF can make a difference by promoting education and understanding of Indigenous art and facilitating the access of interaction and storytelling between buyers and artists,” said Ms Lane.

Tips to avoid the purchase of fake Indigenous art

  • Find out from the vendor or gallerist where the art was made and information about the artist. Purchasing art from an ethical marketplace like CIAF provides opportunity to meet and talk with artists and their work.
  • Ask for documentation demonstrating provenance and correct attribution to named artist.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will be presented between Thursday 13 July and Sunday 16 July 2023 at Cairns Convention Centre and a range of arts and cultural venues throughout the city. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Francoise Lane – photo by Blueclick Photography