Collection Online

Little Johnny
2001

Medium
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Measurements
240.0 × 180.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Brisbane, Queensland
Accession Number
2008.10
Department
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2008
© Richard Bell, courtesy Milani Gallery
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 13
Level 3, NGV Australia
Richard Bell appropriates the layered multi-dot style of popular forms of ‘real and authentic’ Aboriginal art which are mocked by the words ‘I am not sorry’, which refer to then prime minister John Howard’s refusal to apologise to the Stolen Generations. Bell states, ‘A million people marched on Sorry Day 2000, but not little Johnny: this painting was a response to his “deep regret”’. Stylistically the painting also echoes the Ishihara tests for colour blindness, where digits or figures are embedded in a picture composed of dots differentiated only by colour. Bell’s allusion to colour blindness imagines a world without racism.