Online marketplace brings Australian Indigenous art to the world
AN ONLINE marketplace is taking Indigenous Australian art to the world.
Indigispace was established in South Australia this year with a vision to highlight Aboriginal culture by creating a platform for local artists and designers to sell their products internationally.
It was developed by Greg Hodgkinson, who recently received a grant of AU$11,800 from the South Australian Government to expand the project.
Along with a showcase of products, Indigispace also holds workshops to help amateur artists create online profiles.
Using their profile, the Indigispace website becomes a platform to sell their own art to a global market.
The website features works by eight South Australian artists but Hodgkinson is in the process of expanding nationwide.
He said giving amateur Aboriginal artists the opportunity to showcase their work highlighted Indigenous Australian culture to an international audience.
“I’m actually an indigenous artist myself and I saw there was a need for an Aboriginal owned and operated business that brought together artists as well as the wider Aboriginal community to sell their products — and it’s not just paintings,” he said.
“We have some educational products, clothing and I’m talking to some musicians and jewellers about having their stuff online as well.
“The whole idea is to help each artist create their own online account and self-manage their art.”
Australia’s Aboriginal culture is among the oldest surviving cultures in the world.
The use of stone tool technology and painting with red ochre pigment dates back more than 60,000 years.
The products available on Indigispace range from T-shirts, paintings and hats to jigsaw puzzles and stencils.
All products are designed using Aboriginal art styles, including traditional dot and line variations.
A number of the pieces feature various native Australian wildlife such as kangaroos, emus, goannas and turtles, which symbolise the cultural and historical connection to the land.
One of the paintings for sale on the site is called Journey (pictured above) and was painted by Hodgkinson.
It explores his experiences growing up in South Australia and his heritage.
“It really highlights the passion for painting. There are so many different elements to it and that is really what Aboriginal art is about,” Hodgkinson said.
“The site is able to give people who aren’t well known, a chance to tell their story and that is really important.”
There were more than 500 different clan groups or Aboriginal “nations” in Australia prior to European settlement, many with distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages. Today, Indigenous people make up just 2.4 per cent of the total Australian population — about 460,000 of 22 million people.
Hodgkinson said he hoped to increase the number of featured on the website artists to 20 by the end of the year and planned to hold more workshops around the country in 2017.
All products listed on the Indigispace site are available for international shipping.