Aboriginal Arts Ltd fully supports the traditional Aboriginal owners and custodians of
the didgeridoo and help in promoting quality authentic instruments which are made in remote Aboriginal communities.

Concern for the buyer!

99% of all didgeridoos sold throughout the world are not crafted and painted by indigenous Aboriginals.

Big factories now mass produce bamboo and teak didgeridoos and falsely label them Aboriginal didgeridoos.

There is mass cutting down of Eucalyptus trees, sometimes the non-termite eaten wood is bored and Aboriginal style paint is applied.

A Yidaki is a Yolngu term for the didgeridoo. A didgeridoo coming from anywhere other than North East Arnhem Land is not a Yidaki.

A Mago is a West Arnhem Land term for a didgeridoo (didjeridu)

The dot art painting commonly found on didgeridoos and sold throughout the world is not generally a traditional art form on Indigenously crafted instruments from the Top End, rather it is a dot.con!

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Marion Scrymgour, Minister for Arts

"Without repeating myself from those areas, I would like to make three points to your committee. First, I am aware that you do not have the time to check this out as your timetable is tight, but if you were to walk 700 metres from the site of this hearing you would get a sense of some of the threats to the Aboriginal visual arts and craft industry. Within this radius there are half-a-dozen shops that deal more or less exclusively with Aboriginal art. Two are Aboriginal owned, the Tiwi Art Network outlet in the Air Raid Arcade and the Maningrida Arts and Culture across the road in the Plaza Hotel. By sheer chance these two represent arts centres from my electorate of Arafura. Also within this radius there is a plethora of souvenir shops which sell, as a significant part of their output, arts and souvenir material that is purportedly Aboriginal."

"I make no comments about these shops dealing primarily in Aboriginal art; some of them do deal ethically. It is the other shops that are of serious concern. The materials they call Aboriginal art are almost exclusively the work of fakers, forgers and fraudsters. Their work hides behind false descriptions and dubious designs. I made the point last week that the vast majority of purchasers of Aboriginal art are sympathetic to Aboriginal artists and want to buy the real thing. Unfortunately, the vast majority of purchasers are being ripped off. I imagine the rules about unparliamentary language are much the same in the Senate as in our Legislative Assembly so I will allow you to imagine the language I would use to describe the producers of this work."

"A particular case in point is the production and sale of didgeridoos. The overwhelming majority of the ones you see in the shops throughout the country, not to mention Darwin, are fakes, pure and simple. There is some anecdotal evidence in Darwin that they have been painted by backpackers working on industrial scale wood production. Needless to say, my department refuses to issue forestry harvesting permits for these carpetbaggers, but they still head out bush and rape our bush."

"Many are produced and painted by Aboriginal people in New South Wales and Queensland, and it saddens me to criticise these people but I must. It also saddens the people whose birthright the didgeridoo belongs to, those whose cultures take in an arch from the north-east part of the Kimberley, through Arnhem Land and south to and around the borders of Queensland. Many of them live in my electorate. Their heritage has been stolen through the sale out of Darwin of an estimated 1,000 didgeridoos a week. I make the point here: my people, the Tiwi, reside in that geographic arch I just described, but we would never make didgeridoos. They have never been part of our culture, and we would not steal the culture of countrymen from across the water. I would make an appeal to Aboriginal people elsewhere: dressing up didgeridoos with ripped-off design formula such as crosshatching or, more bizarrely, desert iconography does not make a didgeridoo genuine; it merely hides the origins of our respective colonisations behind a mask of complicity."

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If you have any questions regarding the authenticity of an Aboriginal instrument being offered for sale, feel free to contact us

Aboriginal Arts Ltd

We are 100% committed to promoting the rich cultural heritage of North Arnhem Land.

At Aboriginal Arts Ltd we only sell genuine Aboriginal Didgeridoos and authentic Aboriginal artefacts.

All items are sold with a Certificate of Authenticity and we guarantee you an immediate and full refund in the
unlikely event that you should ever receive something from us that is incorrectly described or labelled!

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