Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Artist, activist Richard Bell to visit IU during final stop of first U.S. traveling exhibition

April 2, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Australian Aboriginal artist-activist Richard Bell will visit Indiana University's Bloomington campus April 11 to 16, where his traveling solo exhibition "Richard Bell: Uz vs. Them" is on display at the IU Art Museum. The museum is the final venue for the exhibition, which closes May 5.

We Were Here First

Richard Bell, Wewereherefirst, 2007. Acrylic on canvas, 2 parts, 96 x 144 in. Private collection, Brisbane. Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts

Print-Quality Photo

Bell will give a free public tour of his work at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14, in the IU Art Museum's Special Exhibitions Gallery. The tour follows a 2 p.m. concert of Australian Aboriginal music featuring the didgeridoo, clapsticks and bullroarer performed by world musician Adam Riviere.

In another event related to the exhibition, Ian McIntosh will speak at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in the Special Exhibitions Gallery. McIntosh is culture director of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis' International Partnerships program, adjunct professor of anthropology at IUPUI and expert on Australian Aboriginal history. He will discuss issues faced by Australian Aboriginal peoples while sharing first-hand experiences from growing up in Queensland, Australia.

During his visit, Bell will interact with students and faculty from several areas on campus, including the Hope School of Fine Arts Studio and Art History programs, the School of Education Cultural Immersion Projects, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Arts Administration Program, and the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center.

About the artist
Now living in Brisbane, Bell was born in 1953 in Charleville, a small town in southwestern Queensland. During the 1970s he became active in the Aboriginal civil rights movement, and in the late 1980s he began making art as an outgrowth of that activism. Self-taught, he had his first solo exhibition in 1989. In 1993, he won the Gold Coast (Queensland) Arts Centre's National Aboriginal Arts Award. In 2003, Bell's painting "Scientia E Metaphysica" ("Bell's Theorem") received the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, one of Australia's most prestigious awards in the field.

Bell works primarily as a painter, but he also creates photographs, films and installation pieces; all of these mediums are represented in the exhibition. While his painting style has affinities with Aboriginal desert painting, the use of letters and texts, popular imagery, irony, appropriation and direct references to the work of Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein clearly embed Bell's work in the Western art world mainstream.

Bell's first U.S. exhibition was in 2009 in New York, but "Uz vs. Them" is the first traveling show featuring his work exclusively. The exhibition has been traveling since 2011, opening at Tufts University Art Gallery and then moving to the University of Kentucky Art Museum and the Victoria H. Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver.

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. Additional support has come from the Australian government through the Australia Council for the Arts and the Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C.

About the IU Art Museum
With collections as varied as ancient gold jewelry, African masks, and paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, the Indiana University Art Museum is on Seventh Street in the heart of the Bloomington campus. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; and is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free.