New program aims to identify authentic First Nations art, made in B.C.

VANCOUVER – B.C.’s First Nations artists have an important and expanding international reputation.

Their work is prized by serious collectors and tourists alike, but is the art being sold in galleries always ‘authentic’?

Now a new program is being launched to make sure it is clear that the art is made in B.C.

The Authentic Indigenous Arts Initiative launched on Wednesday and its goal is to promote and support authentic Indigenous artworks in the retail space.

From now on every art piece made in B.C. will have a logo stating it is authentic Indigenous.

It has taken roughly five years to develop the program, which will also compensate every artist accordingly and will have the ability to compete in new markets.

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“It’s hugely important,” said Lou-ann Neel, the Artisan Program coordinator. “I think it really connects closely to what we’ve been talking about around governance. We are governing our own art traditions, that’s been out of our hands and out of our control for many many years, so it’s important for that and also the province and the federal government both talking about jobs, employment and the economy, it’s something we can do for ourselves.”

“We really appreciate the support from them but this is something that actually needs to be done by us.”

The hope is that the program will help educate consumers and help them seek out the pieces made in B.C.