It is necessary to define fair pay in fine and visual arts, says Serbian artists’ association

The Association of Fine Artists of Serbia (ULUS) and the Association of Fine Artists of Vojvodina (SULUV) are currently forming a Committee for Cooperation, with the aim to develop price lists for fair pay in the field of fine arts, establish the principles of fair practice and contribute to a better socio-economic position of artists.

At a conversation held at the SULUV Gallery in Novi Sad on Tuesday (December 14th), agreements were launched between the Association of Fine Artists of Vojvodina (SULUV) and the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia (ULUS) on further struggles to establish fair practice and better working and living socioeconomic position of artists in Serbia.

Being active in the field of fine arts implies a work process that would have to be paid for, in contrast to the current practice, stated the speakers in the debate. The fees that artists receive for their artistic work are often not enough to cover even basic production costs of creating a work of art, while most of the artists are forced to do additional work in order to meet their basic existential needs.

The poor circumstances are aggravated by the fact that the professional field of fine arts in Serbia is completely unregulated, unlike the professional field of musicians or actors, for example. The latter enjoy more protection by the cultural institutions where they are employed (theaters, for example) or it is implied that they will receive a pre-agreed fee for their work engagement.

The organizers of the debate stated that due to the aforementioned reasons, artists don’t have the opportunity to organize trade unions and collectively negotiate the conditions of their labour.

During the years 2020 and 2021, as part of a wider research on the working conditions of artists in Serbia, ULUS initiated a special working team that currently focuses on establishing standards for fair compensation for work in the field of fine arts.

“Establishing, advocating and applying good practices requires an involvement of as many actors working in the field of culture and art as possible; primarily artists themselves, but also representatives of exhibition spaces, galleries, art centers and relevant institutions”, ULUS representatives explain, inviting the professional and general public to get involved in the further work of this working group.

As a result of the mentioned ULUS research, a publication entitled “Work in Art” has been prepared. It provides an overview of international fair practices and price lists in fine arts that are already implemented in local practices. It is meant to serve as the basis for development of a Framework for determining fair fees for exhibitions and other professional services, which could later be adapted for implementation within the specific socio-economic context in Serbia.

ULUS announces the continuation of public talks on fair practices in form of a conversation entitled “For fair compensation and working conditions in fine and visual arts”. It will be held on Tuesday, December 21, in the ULUS Gallery in Knez Mihailova (or: Zoom LINK), as part of the promotion of the aforementioned publication “Work in Art”.

The conversation will be organized in collaboration with the representatives of the Association of Fine Artists of Vojvodina (SULUV) and other associates.

V.K.

Translation from Serbian: Iskra Krstić

This article was ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in Serbian on Dec 16, 2021.

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