September 13 – October 21, 2012
I am pleased to welcome you to this presentation of the traveling exhibition, Richard Bell: Us vz. Them. Richard Bell’s extraordinarily fresh and humorous take on the very serious questions of aboriginal civil rights are more than thought-provoking: they demonstrate the power of visual art to shake our beliefs about who we are and what we’re entitled to. Richard paid a visit to us here in May, and I truly thank him for sharing his irreverent worldview with many of us, and for his support of this project. Calling himself an “artist/activist,” he reminds us that he always has a political agenda.
Bell’s politically charged artworks first came to the attention of the wider community in 2003, when his massive painting Scientia E Metaphysica (Bell’s Theorem)—emblazoned with the text “Aboriginal Art—It’s a White Thing”—won the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Award. His work is included in major public and private collections and has been featured in numerous exhibitions abroad. This is the first exhibition of his work to travel in the United States.
The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and supported by the Queensland Government, Australia, through Trade and Investment Queensland’s Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency (QIAMEA). Additional support has come from the Australian government through the Australia Council for the Arts and the Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C. The curator is Maura Reilly of Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.