B W Trading (our previous name) began importing handicrafts from the Kashmir region in 1991. Having a strong interest in world arts and crafts, and constantly seeing the commonalities between people and artists across the world, the potential for combining the original art works from traditional Australian Aboriginal artists with the fine quality handicrafts from the remote Himalayan region of Kashmir was evident.
In 1996, Better World Arts invited a joint venture between Better World Arts (then known as B W Trading) and Kaltjiti Arts, one of the art centres in the isolated Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in the remote north west corner of South Australia. Fortunately, the forward thinking Beverley Peacock accepted our invitation and a fabulous and greatly beneficial project that has bought benefit to so many was born. Focusing on fine art instead of predictable commercialised Aboriginal images, a cross-cultural collaboration thrived, using the powerful images from the artists of the APY Lands and the traditional cultural craft heritage of the Kashmir region.
The projects focus on creating empowering business models for the artists and artisans, both here in Australia and in other regions in developing economies. Instead of using the usual licensing models, the artists, through their art centres can commission the production of their images onto products owned by their art centres. As well as the usual royalties, a healthy and independent sustainable business is now owned by the artists, and profit shares are paid to the art centres. We have been referred to as "The Body Shop of Aboriginal Art".
This model differs from licensing, where a third party (rather than the artist) owns the products sold, and pays royalties to the artists. Licensing creates a passive income stream for artists and is a positive model, but our "Partnership" model has many additional advantages. With the Better World Arts "Partnership" model, the artists are paid royalties, so get the same benefit as with a licensed agreement, and also own a business which has a healthy and identified cash flow and profit flowing back into the art centre.
Better World Arts also works with a licensing model. Some artists and art centres are not in a position to invest in stock. In this case licensing agreements are entered into.
About Our Logo
Better World Arts purchased the right to develop and use the logo from a painting by Anyupa Treacle. Anyupa is an artist from Kaltjiti Arts in Fregon, and the painting was done there. The logo was derived from Anyupa’s painting which has been one of the most successful images used in the Cross Cultural Projects. It is an important traditional creation story about the ‘Seven Sisters'. The Seven Sisters journey through the land creating women's tools and law. A powerful man called Nyiru is in love with one of the sisters and chases them. He chases them all over Australia and there are different stories relating to his travels in all regions of Australia. We have even been told that Wati Nyiru travelled through out Asia and the rest of the world, creating children as he travelled. The sisters were fearful of Wati Nyiru and continued to flee from him, creating land marks and formations as they went. Eventually fleeing to the skies, they can now be seen as the constelation of the Pleiades, while Wati Nyiru is seen in the constellation of Orion, still chasing the women.
Interestingly, this story is known in many cultures, not only in Australain Aborginal culture. This reflects our interest in the commonalities between people and cultures, and the very human expressions in the arts.
The Cross Cultural Projects give substantial and sustainable benefits to the participants. The goods sold give a steady income to the Aboriginal artists via royalties and a share in the profit. Furthermore, the artisans who are contributors to the project are employed in traditional activites that suppliment rural incomes, filling the financial troughs between harvests, and the lulls in seasonal work. This income is derived from work that is culturally enhancing, and gives strength to traditional ways of life and creativity in both communities. On both sides of the equation people are enabled to live in their own small communities with their extended families.
Artists who do not regularly sell art work but have produced vital images can participate. The project is inclusive and spreads the income across a broad range of people. There are currently more than 80 Aboriginal artists participating in the project. There are more than 60 Kashmiri artisans involved in producing the rugs and 40 working with the paper mache. Other projects like the shanti leather, the Peruvina silver and the Tibetan rugs also give sustainable employment that is culturally appropriate.
Better World Studios
Artists from the APY Lands who reside in Adelaide often expressed that they would like a facility similar in function to the art centres on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara Lands.
It soon became apparent that the issues in the city are different to those faced in the homeland communities. Via an evolutionary process, Better World Arts created a studio space for artists to use when they are relocated to Adelaide.
A substantial outreach program has also developed around the Studio. Many of the artists are in Adelaide due to health or family reasons. They encounter a number of difficulties and Better World Arts has set up processes and networks that assist artists with these issues. Imunisation programs, a free homeopathic clinic, personal budgeting , and literacy support have been some of the regular programs facilitated by us. The regular professional development workshops run at the studios provide a forum for community services to engage with Anangu and their families, regular social interaction is a very valuable by product and the healthy lunch provided adds to the fun and to the benefits of the sessions.
Many of the artworks on our site and in our galleries are derived from our own studios in Port Adelaide.
As well there is Aboriginal art available from other locations. This art comes from various art centres across Australia.
2013 Certificate of Honour Mark Butler Awards
2008 finalists in the Telstra Business Awards in the categories of Micro-Business Award and Social Responsibility Award.
2007 Better World Arts has been shortlisted for a Ruby Award (SA) in the Leadership in Arts Enterprise category.
2005 B W Trading and Kaltjiti Arts won a Judges Encouragement Award (South Australian section) in the Prime Minister's Excellence in Community and Business Partnerships. An encouragement award was given in place of the actual award because the project was deemed too commercial to fit the Awards criteria. At Better World Arts we were very pleased with this result, including the recognition of the commercial success of the venture. We believe commercial success is fundamental to the independence of Aboriginal people, and it is definitely fundamental to the continuation of the projects
In 2003 Kaltjiti Arts won the Upper Spencer Gulf Exporters Award in the Community Contribution section for their participation in the Cross Cultural Project.
What We Do
Art is one of the finest expressions of the human spirit and handicrafts a deep felt expression of culture. Better World Arts bring together these exalted reflections of humanity, uniting the oldest living culture on earth with the finest handmade traditions of the silk road and beyond. Our works bring balance and symmetry. They nurture the soul of the artists, families and communities on all sides of the world. Let them embellish your life as well.
Better World Arts values and supports ancient cultures in Australia and globally. By developing new and innovative projects we can continue to distribute generous royalties to the artists, and support economic sustainability for communities in developing regions.
We step daily towards Reconcilliation, the right and responsibility of all Australians, not only the domain of government agencies.
We work on many levels to Close the Gap.
Better World Arts runs many programs, outside of and above and beyond our business relationship, programs that create opportunities for Aboriginal people, engaging them economically and culturally, supporting them socially and holistically.
We have an Aboriginal art gallery in Port Adelaide and in the Adelaide Central Market precinct, offering Aboriginal artworks and paintings for sale, along with a range of Aboriginal art based products, gifts and home-wares. In addition to our Aboriginal art gallery in Adelaide, we sell quality Aboriginal artwork online, as well as products derived from Aboriginal painting images.
Royalties & Profit sharing
The products using Aboriginal artwork images are licensed from the artists, and royalty payments are made on a monthly basis. We have been in this industry for a while and are confident that we pay generous royalties, the highest royalties that we know of. we also have agreements with some art centres whereby they share in the profits that we generate. We do not identify the specific percentage of royalties of profit sharing to third parties. This information is confidential. In the same way that other mainstream businesses and contractual arrangements are commercial in confidence, so too is the information and financial resources that belong to the artists. At times this is not acknowledged by the public. We are sharply defined on this issue. We trust that Aboriginal artists need to be making their own decisions in a well informed way. We have developed effective methods of bridging the westernised concepts of money and percentages to the artists who for the most part come from a non numerate culture.
Royalties from our use of Aboriginal art has created a sustainable income for artists involved for over 18 years now. Some of the Aboriginal artworks that are licensed belong to artists who have passed away. Their royalties are paid to next of kin. We have enabled a significant and ongoing legacy to their families.
Better World Studios
We do not cherry pick the best artists and try to restrict their relationships with others. Unless we are aware of contracts with another party that will prohibit a relationship with us we will welcome any Aboriginal person from remote regions to work with us. They can create their Aboriginal art and have the opportunity to sell it through our galleries. They may also have their images made into product that will generate royalties for years to come. Most images that are selected pay more in terms of royalties than the original artwork generated, sometimes many times over. The works in our Adelaide art gallery and our online Aboriginal art gallery bring many opportunities to the artists and their families. All agreements we have with artists are non exclusive, as we believe Aboriginal people should have choice.
By offering a place to buy Aboriginal art online, Better World Arts recognises that cultural practices maintain culture and help to keep communities strong and healthy. . This reflects our projects overseas, again with people living in remote regions and needing to maintain culture and economic viability in a fast changing industrialised globalised world. By developing new and innovative projects we can continue to distribute generous royalties to the artists, and support economic sustainability for communities in developing regions.
At Better World Arts, we also work on many levels to Close the Gap. Together, we step daily towardsReconciliation, the right and responsibility of all Australians, not only the domain of government agencies.
Better World Arts runs many programs, outside of and above and beyond our business relationships. These programs are designed to create opportunities for Aboriginal people, engaging them economically and culturally, whilst supporting them socially and holistically.
Introduction to Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal art is based on important traditional stories and symbols originating from 'The Dreaming'. During the Dreaming the Australian Aboriginal world was created, and extends from the distant past to our present. The Dreaming still exists today and forms the rich spiritual fabric that Aboriginal life emanates from. Traditional "Tjukurpa" Dreaming stories are ancient, and relate not only to the Australian landscape but to the whole planet and the cosmos. The oral tradition of the Australian Aboriginal peoples provide a thread that connects us all back to our most distant ancestors. There are similarities between some Aboriginal dreaming stories and those of other ancient cultures. For example, the Many Sisters (also known as the Seven Sisters) can be found in many traditions across the globe. In Aboriginal culture this story has a chapter that belongs on the Pitjantjatjara Lands, another chapter that belongs in Warlpiri country, and so it goes on tracing its way through the many cultural groups that make up the peoples we refer to as Aboriginal. Their Tjukurpa define individual language and territorial groups, and at the same time links them together.
The power of Aboriginal art may lie not only in the rich and multi-dimensional Tjukurpa but also in the fact that there was no written language as we understand it. Some Aboriginal art is similar to a language, and can very clearly tell a story to those who know how to read it.
Our Aboriginal art gallery in Port Adelaide hosts many practicing artists who are for various reasons displaced from their traditional lands. Here we offer a functional studio space and a multitude of other support resources. Our Aboriginal art gallery in the vibrant Central Market precinct brings Aboriginal art to a convenient location for locals and visitors to South Australia. We also have an online art gallery showcasing an extensive catalogue of Aboriginal art and also provides Tjukurpa (stories) that relate to the images.
In both our online art gallery and Aboriginal art gallery in Adelaide, we have a broad selection of Aboriginal art for sale. Our Aboriginal art for sale includes works produced by both emerging and well-practiced and exhibited artists. We offer Aboriginal paintings, artworks and handicrafts. At Better World Arts, it is our aim to make Aboriginal art accessible to everyone. You can purchase Aboriginal art or art reproduced in prices ranging from just a few dollars upwards. Please feel free to browse through our pages of Aboriginal art online. Here you will also find many cross cultural products that we have created using the beautiful and diverse images of Australian Aboriginal artists.