Gold Award-winning artist returns for solo exhibition

Published on 17 November 2023


Rockhampton region will get a chance to see the works of one of Australia’s most significant Indigenous artists, in an exclusive exhibition at Rockhampton Museum of Art, from mid November.

Richard Bell’s exhibition Bell’s Theorem will be the largest solo exhibition in the artist’s home state to date.

It will also be his first in Australia after his critically acclaimed participation in the 58th Venice Biennale (Bell gatecrashed the world’s most famous biennale with a scene-stealing and provocative installation, roaming the canals on a barge)  and major solo exhibitions at Tate Modern in London and Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Bell has also been the subject of a highly awarded documentary, You Can Go Now, available on SBS.

Bell’s Theorem covers around four decades of the artist’s career and shows how his artwork has been informed by a lifetime of activism for Aboriginal land rights. The artist often employs humour and catchy phrases in his paintings and videos to express the conflicts between ‘Western, colonial and Indigenous art production and its reception.’

In addition to his paintings, the exhibition will also include a travelling artwork Embassy, inspired by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy which was pitched on the grounds of Parliament House in Canberra in 1972 by four young activists. Bell’s Embassy, which is jointly owned by the Tate Modern in London and Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, will be the venue for public dialogue at various times during the exhibition.

Bell was born in Charleville and lived in several locations around Queensland in his formative years, including Rockhampton.

He won Rockhampton Art Gallery’s Gold Award in 2018 for his painting Untitled that mimicked the style of Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock to provoke ideas about ‘place’. Along with prizemoney, the Gold Award came with an invitation to undertake a solo exhibition at Rockhampton Museum of Art.

Rockhampton Regional Council Communities and Heritage spokesperson Cr Drew Wickerson said that Rockhampton Museum of Art is delivering on a promise to provide access to some of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists, right here in Rockhampton.

“This is a major exclusive for the Rockhampton Museum of Art, demonstrating that RMOA is now a leading regional art gallery for Queensland and Australia. This world-class artist’s works will be on show, for free, for all our residents and visitors to the region this summer,” he said.

Bell’s Theorem will be on display from 18 November 2023 to 18 February 2024 at Rockhampton Museum of Art, 220 Quay Street, Rockhampton. Admission is free.

Rockhampton Museum of Art is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.