• Is the Chanel 'Boomerang' just filling a 'gap in the market'? (CHANEL)Source: CHANEL
Breakfast television defended Chanel's controversial 'boomerang' as simply 'filling a gap in the market', but Madeline Hayman-Reber argues that whether its designer or in a souvenir shop - all fake art does is clog the Indigenous art industry.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

16 May 2017 - 1:10 PM  UPDATED 16 May 2017 - 3:48 PM

As a proud Gomeroi woman, I often cringe whenever Indigenous issues are discussed on mainstream television shows, and even more so when it’s live.

This morning on Sunrise, I had the pleasure of witnessing 7 non-Indigenous hosts awkwardly discuss one of the biggest news stories of the last 24 hours – the Chanel ‘boomerang’. Twice. 

In a second segment on the same program, a clearly uncomfortable female contributor, who was seemingly trying to avoid any kind of political/controversial discussion, asked a very good question that got me thinking, Carrie Bradshaw way.

"They obviously see a market for it - why would you buy one for $15 at Circular Quay, when you can pay $2,000 and look fancy?," she said.

Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head without meaning to. Why would you spend $15 on a knock off when you can just buy another knock off for $2K?

Let me explain.

Fake art is a massive problem in the world of Indigenous art, and boomerangs are the tip of the iceberg.

Our artists spend hours and hours telling stories more than 50,000 years old through a variety of mediums, including painting, song, dance, creating weapons and instruments.

They are telling the stories of our people and their personal experiences. They do this not just to express themselves, but to share our culture with the world.

By buying any of those ‘fast art’ souvenirs, be it from Paddy's Markets or a $19-billion-dollar company, you are buying something completely worthless. The label may say 'boomerang' and it bears the same iconic curve, but it comes with no story, no experience and quite frankly, is a slap in the face to all the Indigenous artists actively sharing Aboriginal culture.  

You're also sending your hard earned money overseas and supporting a booming 'knock off' industry.

By investing in real artifacts, artworks and tools, you’re supporting more than the artist, but the whole community and even the economy.

So Chanel, please don't take my culture, paint a couple of C's on it, make it expensive, and rake in the cash while many Aboriginal artists and communities continue to live in poverty. 

Personally, whether it was $15 or $2k I'd rather see my money go towards supporting a REAL Aboriginal artists and their communities to keep our culture - Australia's culture - alive.

Always check where your 'souvenirs' come from.

Like the content? Follow the author @madelinehayman

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