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  5. Reproducing or displaying Aboriginal artworks
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Reproducing or displaying Aboriginal artworks

This section discusses uses of Aboriginal art that do not involve any alteration to, or breaking up of, the artworks. Such uses include reproduction (eg in books, on fabrics, posters, websites) and display.

In the school context, such uses might occur where students are:

  • establishing a temporary ‘gallery’ of Aboriginal artworks (eg by framing poster reproductions)
  • giving a presentation on an Aboriginal artist or style of art (eg by showing posters, slides or scanned images)
  • designing and producing a calendar of Aboriginal art
  • designing and establishing a website to provide information on Aboriginal art
  • preparing, for publication or exhibition, a photographic record of rock paintings/carvings, sculptures or other items on permanent display.

It is important to consider not only the strict legal obligations involved in these activities but also the social responsibility involved.

From a strictly legal point of view, two generalisations apply:

  • the ownership of artworks gives extensive rights to display and exhibit the works
  • the permanent public display of a sculpture or work of artistic craftsmanship permits the making of a painting, drawing, engraving or photograph of the sculpture or work, and the inclusion of it in a film or television broadcast.
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Reproducing or displaying Aboriginal artworks