Richard Bell (artist)

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Richard Bell
Born1953 (age 66–67)
Known forPainting, contemporary Indigenous Australian art
AwardsNational Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award

Richard Bell (born 1953, in Charleville, Queensland, into the Kamilaroi tribe) is an Australian artist and political activist. He is one of the founders of proppaNOW, a Brisbane-based aboriginal art collective.[1] He lives in Brisbane, Queensland.

Bell came to the attention of the wider community after his 240×540 cm painting Scientia E Metaphysica (Bell's Theorem) won the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. It prominently featured the text "Aboriginal Art – It's A White Thing".

In 2006, the Queensland art critic Rex Butler profiled his work for Australian Art Collector magazine.[2]

Bell caused controversy in April 2011 after revealing that he had selected the winner of the prestigious Sir John Sulman Prize through the toss of a coin.[3]

In March 2012, Bell won a court case against a person who had issued a take-down notice in 2011, for "unjustifiable threats of copyright infringement", and was awarded $147,000 in damages, setting "an important precedent".[4]

In 2013 he presented the eight-episode TV series Colour Theory on National Indigenous Television.[5]

His self-portrait was a finalist of the 2015 Archibald Prize.[6]


  1. ^ Bell, Richard (14 June 2014). "The death of Queensland artist Gordon Bennett is a huge blow to the Australian contemporary art world" (Biographical note). The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  2. ^ Rex Butler, Psychoanalysis, Australian Art Collector, Issue 38, October–December 2006.
  3. ^ "The hand of fate: how this painting won $20,000 on the toss of a coin", The Age, 24 April 2011
  4. ^ "Well-known Australian artist receives damages award for unjustifiable threats of copyright infringement", Mallesons Stephen Jaques, 23 March 2012
  5. ^ Colour Theory, SBS International Archived 1 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Me, Bell's self-portrait

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