Film: + Q&A: Richard Bell: You Can Go Now


event Details

Unfortunately, Richard Bell is no longer able to attend the screening and the Q&A has been cancelled. Instead, Senior Curator Māori Art, Nathan Pōhio, will give a short introduction to the film.

Richard Bell. An activist masquerading as an artist.

This film looks at First Nations artist Richard Bell – provocateur, ‘enfant terrible of the art world’ and community activist. His confrontational work and attitudes have stirred the Australian art world while being lauded internationally, taking him from a childhood in a rural Queensland shack to the lofty halls of the Tate Modern.

In You Can Go Now (2022), Bell, Kamilaroi/Kooma/Jiman/Goreng Goreng peoples, recalls life as a child living in abject poverty. The film includes historical footage of life on missions and reserves, which demonstrates the oppressive and invasive conditions Aboriginal people were forced to endure. Bell’s polemics and creative outputs provide a lens through which to consider the last 50 years of First Nations activism in Australia and its links to global protest movements. Bell's work Omega (Bell's Theorem), 2013 is included in our current exhibition Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia, presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia and Wesfarmers Arts.

This screening is the film’s theatrical premiere in Aotearoa New Zealand. There will be a Q&A between Bell and Aotearoa artist Lisa Reihana afterwards.

‘A powerful piece of work, with all the anger, recrimination and hurt that we see in his art. Bell is a provocateur, a poet, a piss-taker, maybe even a prophet.’ – Sydney Morning Herald

‘(A) barnstormer of a documentary.’ – ScreenHub

We respectfully advise that this film includes works by, names of, and references to deceased people. It may also include images of First Nations cultural practices, and/or artistic, cultural or intellectual property that may be of a sensitive nature.

About Richard Bell

Richard Bell (born 1953) is one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists. Bell was born in Queensland and is a descendant of the Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Goreng Goreng peoples. A renowned activist, artist and political commentator, Bell uses humour, satire and word play to address issues around representation, place, identity politics, and the perceptions of Aboriginal art within a postcolonial history and framework. Underpinned by a direct and unsettling satirical humour, his work has a sharp political edge that extends his life-long commitment to Aboriginal social justice, land rights and sovereignty, often through a powerful critique of the legacy of European invasion.

This event is part of Auckland Art Gallery Members programme. Go to to find out more.



Auditorium, Lower Ground
Members $15, Non-Members $20, Students $10 (+ fees)
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