We Can Be Heroes
Richard Bell and Emory Douglas’ collaborative project brings into conversation their respective art practices along with the Indigenous rights movements of Australia and the Black Power movement of America.
The controversial Bell is one of Australia's most renowned Indigenous artists. With a penchant for sarcasm he explores stereotypes and racism through his self-titled 'Liberation art'. Douglas may be considered in a similar vein as the Minister of Culture in the Black Panther Party who was also the art director, designer and main illustrator for the The Black Panther newspaper, creating iconic images that represented the struggles in America during the 1960s and 1970s.
'We Can Be Heroes' 2014 depicts the moment during the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games when Australian sprinter, Peter Norman stood in solidarity with African American sportsmen Tommie Smith and John Carlos to protest discrimination and inequality. Although Norman is remembered as an important advocate of civil rights within America, he remains relatively forgotten within Australian history.
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
180.0 x 240.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Wendy Barron Bequest Fund 2015
© Richard Bell & Emory Douglas, courtesy Milani Gallery, Brisbane
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
When silence falls, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Dec 2015–29 May 2016
Referenced in 1 publication
Cara Pinchbeck, Look, 'When silence falls', pg. 24-26, Sydney, Dec 2015-Jan 2016, 25 (colour illus.), 26.