Richard Bell is — in his order — a political activist and artist from Australia. He is a member of the Aboriginal Kamilaroi tribe and one of the founders of proppaNOW, a Brisbane-based art collective which works to “change ideas that people have about what Aboriginal art is and what it should be.”
“ABORIGINAL ART — It’s a white thing!”
Bell creates counter images from commonly known pieces of art and embeds them with text to get the attention of the viewer and to make his point.
Bell forces the viewer to look at issues of racial history, cultural history, relationships of power, controlling images, colonialism, paternalism, and racism. He describes his art-as-activism as “conversational, playful, tongue-in-cheek, moralistic, sermonistic, and informative”. It is big, bold, and beautiful. So is he. I have met him.