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Accepted Paper:

Digital images, painted colour: on line sales of Australian central desert Indigenous art  
Diana Young (University of Queensland)

Paper short abstract:

My current research concerns central Australian Indigenous art practices and their relationship to money, consumption and exchange. Here I consider the circulation of digital images of paintings on line and the effect that this has on both the maker’s earnings and on the way paintings are made.

Paper long abstract:

This paper grows from my current research in which I try to understand more about the consumption practices of Indigenous artists living in central Australia. The artists' use of their earnings is a way of learning about changing attitudes to, and ideas about, the relationships between materiality, money, consumption and exchange. How do paintings ask for what they want? Most paintings are about 'Country' with its aesthetic and spiritual power. Some are about everyday events in the service centre town of Alice Springs or on other bush settlements.

Except perhaps among the most senior people, digital imagery - especially personal access to smart phones and tablets - is highly desired. Here I'll develop some ideas about the qualities of colours in digital images and the reciprocal interplay with where, when and for who paintings are made.

Many paintings are sold through web sites. These sites may belong to private commercial dealers or to community run and owned art centres. In this paper I trace how images of paintings get onto web sites in the first place and what the circulation of these digital images can do to the reputation of the painters (and the lack of interest that many show in this) and how other kinds of digital images are sought out by people who paint, to soothe them on hard days. There is, I'll show, an inter- cultural contestation of imagery threaded throughout.

Panel P065
Reassembling the visual: from visual legacies to digital futures [VANEASA]
  Session 1