Campaign to ‘free’ the Aboriginal flag gains momentum as Australian government seeks exclusive licensing rights

Made by the Luritja artist Harold Thomas in 1971, the rights to the flag design are currently held by Ben Wooster, a former art dealer previously fined $2.3m for selling fake Aboriginal works of art.

A years-long campaign to “free” the design of the Aboriginal flag has gained federal backing this week as the Australian government begins negotiations with a non-Indigenous clothing company that owns the licensing rights to its design. …

However, some believe that the movement is a “major misunderstanding” in misstep with authentic Aboriginal culture, and that Thomas is partly to blame for licensing the design. “There’s such a thing as Australian Aboriginal culture and a flag made in 1971 is not our culture,” one Twitter user noted. “The flag is a By piece of artwork designed by Uncle Harold. It’s not authentic traditional culture, it’s contemporary art.”

By Gabriella Angelet, The Art Newspaper

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