Mr Richard Bell



Mr Richard Bell is a member of the Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang communities and an influential artist recognised for his longstanding achievements, contributions and commitment to contemporary Australian art and Aboriginal art.

Mr Bell developed his passion for art growing up in an era of Aboriginal activism and has remained committed throughout his career to profiling Aboriginal social justice, land rights and sovereignty through his work. 

With a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr Bell has come to be recognised nationally and internationally as one of the leading voices in Australian contemporary art for his work critically highlighting the social, legal and economic injustices endured by Australia’s First Peoples since colonisation. In 2003, Mr Bell won the National Telstra Indigenous Art Award for his canvas painting, Scienta E Metaphysica (Bell’s Theorem), which critiques the power held by non-Aboriginal people in the Aboriginal Art industry.

Mr Bell is a founding member of the Indigenous artist collective proppaNOW, which gives urban-based Aboriginal artists a voice. Through this organisation, Mr Bell has mentored many junior artists, becoming a significant voice for change and decolonisation in Australia. 

In 2021, Mr Bell and fellow artists from the proppaNOW artist collective exhibited at The University of Queensland Art Museum. The Museum holds eight of Mr Bell’s major works, recognising the outstanding contribution he has made to the arts, culture and creative industry at state, national and international levels.  

Mr Bell's works are held in major Australian and international collections, and he has exhibited extensively across Australia, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific. Mr Bell’s career highlights include his selection as the Australian representative for Documenta fifteen, 2022, Kassel; a solo presentation at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary art, Turin, Italy and at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2022; a selected survey exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; inclusion in the National Gallery of Canada’s largest show of International Indigenous art in Ontario; and the Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. 

Next year, the proppaNOW collective will also travel to New York after being awarded the 2022–2024 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice as well as a solo presentation at the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London as the first Australian artist to be invited to the exhibition space.

In 2017, Mr Bell’s artwork Embassy was co-acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art and Tate as part of the ground-breaking International Joint Acquisition Program. 

Chancellor, I present to you Mr Richard Bell for the award of Doctor of the University honoris causa, bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland. 



Doctor of University honoris causa