Austracism on Old Parliament House - First Nations Insurgence Exhibition

'this foul deed shall smell above the earth' - Artist: Vernon Ah Kee
Tony Albert, 'I am a young Australien' from Blak velvet series, 2007. Synthetic polymer paint on found vintage velvet painting

Richard Bell, ‘We Own This’, 2012. Acrylic on canvas

Gordon Hookey, 'Terraist', 2012, digital work

Museum of Australian Democrocy
Old Parliament House, Canberra
Media Release 22 October 2013

For the first time ever the front façade of Old Parliament House has been transformed into a large canvas for the art installation by internationally recognised artist Vernon Ah Kee. The art work reads - austracism, and this foul deed shall smell above the earth (Shakespeare).

This text work by artist Vernon Ah Kee was made for the Insurgence exhibition, which opens to the public today and responds to the experiences of Indigenous peoples confronted with racism.

Ah Kee's installation seeks to link his body of work with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns opposite Old Parliament House. It is designed to challenge.

The Insurgence exhibition gives a voice to Indigenous Australians through the 'proppaNOW' collective and includes artists such as Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell and Jennifer Herd, whose individual works are held in most state and national art collections.

Vernon Ah Kee was born in North Queensland and has been living in Brisbane for over twelve years. His art is primarily a critique of Australian popular culture, specifically the Black/White dichotomy. Ah Kee represented Australia at the 2009 Venice Biennale in the group exhibition Once Removed.

Insurgence is the final exhibition under the Museum's Art of Influence program which has examined the relationship between art and democracy through a number of exhibitions and events during Canberra's Centenary year.

Ms Daryl Karp, Director Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House said "The Art of Influence program is a series of works looking at the visual form as a vehicle for influencing opinion, from political cartoons, to cold war messaging, and art as a platform for politics".

"This exhibition of work encourages visitors to consider their attitudes to race and racism," said Ms Karp.

Ms Karp added that that the external installation does not damage the fabric of the building.

The Insurgence exhibition and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House are proud to support the Racism. It stops with me campaign.

'austracism' - Artist: Vernon Ah Kee

For further information or to arrange alternative interview time contact:
Erin Scott, Marketing Officer - 02 6270 8135 or