Anna Moreau chats with Anna Kanaris, director of Artitja Fine Art.
WABN: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone to motivate a team? AK: “I work for myself, so to keep motivated and connected I am on the board of our national industry body AIATA (the Australian Indigenous Art Traders Association).
I am constantly in touch with my sources, be it the art centres or artists and their agents in remote communities.
I read journals and attend industry events such as the annual Telstra Indigenous Art Awards and Desert Mob in Alice Springs.” WABN: What has been the most challenging event in your career? AK: “Making the decision to leave an established career as a radio producer and journalist to purchase a small Indigenous art and craft business at the Fremantle Markets which we owned for 10 years.
I learned that I could do as well in retail, at which I had no experience, as I did in my radio career and that if you have vision and determination (and maybe a little madness) you can achieve your dream.” WABN: What is the main quality you look for within your team members? AK: “A creative mind, good communication and decision making skills.
Honesty and integrity I think are very important.” WABN: What is the best measurement of your performance? AK: “Seeing people in the audience at one of our Desert Dreaming series of exhibitions moved to tears when Utopian artist Gloria Petyarre, whom we’d flown over for opening night “sang” her painting to the audience.
It was a highly successful exhibition.
The highlight was that the success was both in reaching people and financial.” WABN: How do you deal with egos in your workplace? AK: “Partly by leaving the conventional workforce, as I did.
Luckily the only egos I work with now are mine and my partner Arthur’s.
We live and work together well so its not too much of a problem.” WABN: Is there an organisation/ business model that you strive to achieve? AK: “I don’t come from a business background, which is definitely an obstacle and in terms of business models – our accountant keeps insisting we develop a business plan.
I think my model runs on instinct and observation.
I strive for the best.” WABN: What frustrates you the most about your sector? AK: “The competitiveness and the lack of goodwill among some players are frustrating.
I deal with it by getting on with my own business and trying not to get too involved in it.
It can’t be changed – it happens in all industries where there is a demand.” WABN: What are the specific hurdles you meet on a daily basis in your sector? AK: “As a home-based business operating by appointment only outside of our twice-a-year exhibition schedule, the greatest hurdle is getting the phone to ring with appointments.
Remarkably, however, we do have a steady flow.” WABN: Who is someone that you dream to work with? AK: “I think I work with them – some of Australia’s best known Indigenous artists and people whom I respect working in the industry.” WABN: Have you read a good management book that you can recommend? AK: “The latest one I have read was Female Entrepreneurs - Leading Australian Businesswomen by Leiza Clark.
It has interviews with 20 women who began their own businesses.
I tend to respond to personal accounts for motivation and inspiration.” WABN: Which personality has inspired you the most throughout your career? AK: “I can’t think of one personality.I am constantly inspired by creative and positive people I come across, both in the professional and artistic world.”