61. Income for Yolngu artists

Dr Djiniyini Gondarra and Richard Trudgen talk about how Yolngu artists and craft workers can get more income for their work.

This is a major concern right along the coast of Arnhem Land. Many Yolngu artists believe that wages are paid for all work in Australia and that all these wages come from the government. Therefore they believe arts and craft centers should be able to pay them for any work they do. Many artists ask for big money and the whole industry is underdeveloped because of this confusion. This also causes a lot of conflict on many communities.

Djiniyini and Richard begin by taking the conversation back to concepts of traditional Aboriginal trading structures. They talk about how Yolngu traded along the dhumbalbal (trading tracks). They also discuss traditional djugu’ (legal contracts), using the example of the process of making a traditional canoe. This works against the mainstream mindset which generally sees Aboriginal people as primitive and has convinced many Yolngu that their traditional way of doing things is not how business is operated now. Many Yolngu now assume that everything is paid for by the government rather than a contract between two parties.

This series also starts talking about the need for artists to get a name in the industry by producing artworks and getting them out in the trade tracks across the world.

There are 4 stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below-

  • Trading along trading tracks & within corporate clan groups – 00:00
  • Yolngu trade liability – Contract payments & Asset repossessed  – 8:37.921
  • Trade Contract to make a canoe  – 18:20.807
  • How to get more money for Yolngu Artists – 28:03.714