Thursday June 30th - Saturday August 6th, 2022
And she was wearing trousers: a call to our heroines, Arts House, Wurundjeri country (North Melbourne)
It has been a long time since I shared what I had been working on, during The Purple Shall Govern and following on thereafter- so I am very excited to share this project- years in the making with my
co-curator Naomi Velaphi. More updates, interviews and reviews from the exhibition coming soon!
And she was wearing trousers: a call to our heroines brings into focus some of the many women who defined, defied or described Southern African culture from the seventeenth century to today. It features a dynamic array of contributors connecting across shores, from both the African continent and the African diaspora in Australia.
This exhibition that takes place Arts House, features a series of new commissions from artists Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Jabu Nadia Newman, blk banaana, Kirsty Marillier, Rara Zulu and Tariro Mavondo which sit alongside the Australian premiere of Sethembile Msezane’s short film ISIMO. Installations, performance and conversations will unearth often-forgotten feminists, exploring ideas of identity, connection, distance and self. The learning and unearthing these artists have encountered are both exciting and affecting.
Working from archives across various publishers, oral histories, public and private, the academy and the internet, the women Brenda Fassie, Dorothy Masuka, Krotoa, Thenjiwe Lesabe, Queen Lozikeyi and figures alike have served as catalysts into an imagined world by which hope, loss, love and determination are explored. From collage to installation, video art and sound, music to typography, the forms of inquiry taken here are as diverse as the experiences of the women behind them.
Still from video 'As high as the stars so far unseen,' by artist blk banaana.
2pm on Sunday March 27th, 2022
The Purple Shall Govern: Walking Tour with Elders, Footscray Community Arts
The Purple Shall Govern is held on lands bordering the Maribrynong river banks.
What stories inhabit this place?
As the exhibition asks us to examine histories of publics, artist Roberta joins Elders Uncle Larry Walsh and N’arweet Dr. Carolyn Briggs AM as they walk and talk, guiding and exploring the rich landscape and histories of Kulin Country. The Walking Tour with Elders will close the exhibition and its program.
Roberta Joy Rich listening to Uncle Larry Walsh.
6pm on Wednesday March 2nd and Wednesday March 16th, 2022
Screens of Resistance, Footscray Community Arts
Through intimate screenings and conversations, Screens of Resistance invites you to delve deeper into the themes within The Purple Shall Govern exhibition. Join us to explore the work of activists who have influenced our world today. All screenings are FREE. RSVP via Footscray Community Arts.
Screens of Resistance with Kimberley Moulton
Wednesday 2nd March, 6 – 9pm
Roberta Joy Rich and Kimberley Moulton invite you to reflect on the documentary Lousy Little Sixpence, a film by influential activists about the Stolen Generations. Through conversation, you will learn how the film resonates with Kimberley’s work and cultural connections.
Screens of Resistance with Scottnes Smith
Wednesday 16th March, 6 – 9pm
Roberta Joy Rich and Scottnes Smith invite you to reflect on the documentary WINNIE, a film that explores the legacy of Winnie Mandela and her involvement in the collective resistance against the Apartheid regime.
Saturday 19th February - Sunday 27th March, 2022
The Purple Shall Govern; an exhibition by Roberta Joy Rich
Presented at Footscray Community Arts in partnership with Australia Centre for Contemporary Art
Wurundjeri Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung lands (Footscray, Melbourne).
Saturday 12th February 6pm - 9pm, 2022
Sounds of Resistance, Footscray Community Arts Amphitheatre
A week before The Purple Shall Govern opening launch, join us for Sounds of Resistance, a precursory contemplative sonic experience as part of Who's Afraid of Public Space?
Bringing communities together to reflect on themes within the exhibition, DJ's Peter Abrahams,
Paul Gorrie and Colette spin the sounds and rhythms that reflect a soundtrack of liberation and self-determination, playing music of people from this continent to southern Africa. Meet us at the banks of the Maribyrnong among the she-oaks and the bluestones for an introspective dance.
The exhibition will also be open to explore as you immerse yourself in sound. Tickets are now available here for $10 as well as Blak tix and NOTAFLOF (No one turned away for lack of funds).
Saturday 4th December, 2021
Who’s Afraid of Public Space? Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Wurundjeri lands
ACCA is delighted to open Who's Afraid of Public Space? this Saturday 4 December, a major new project exploring the role of public culture, the contested nature of public space, and the character and composition of public life.
Extending across Melbourne through multiple programs, events, installations and interventions, Who's Afraid of Public Space? has been developed with a range of cultural partners, including Abbotsford Convent, Arts Project Australia, Blak Dot Gallery, Bus Projects, Chunky Move, City of Melbourne, Footscray Community Arts, Metro Tunnel Creative Program and Testing Grounds.
I was commissioned as part of Who's Afraid of Public Space to present at Footscray Community Arts, and I am very excited to present my new solo show, "The Purple Shall Govern" in 2022. Explore the program now on ACCA’s website and Footscray Community Arts.
Thursday 27th May, 2021
Very humbled and excited about this project! See ACMI's website for more details...
Thursday 15th - 28th March, 2021
Stimulus Package, situated across various locations on Wurundjeri and Woiwurrung Country
(Darebin City Council) as part of Darebin's FUSE Festival.
Artist talk at Preston Town Hall 6pm, Thursday 25th March.
Curated by Madé Spencer-Castle.
Stimulus Package features the work of Kay Abude, Georgia Banks, Lara Chamas, Anita Cummins, Roberta Joy Rich, Shea Kirk, Sonia Leber and David Chesworth, Louise Meuwissen, Steven Rhall and Tim Woodward.
Emerging from the wake of global upheaval, Stimulus Package plays wryly with the notion of economic stimulus, through the commissioning of 10 public artworks, presented across advertising sites throughout the City of Darebin. Engaging with artists to consider the impact of 2020 on the
fabric of our existence, Stimulus Package reflects on the ways in which we can come together as communities, to stimulate and support each other through extraordinary times.
Presented on the street and to the public, the works presented in Stimulus Package are at once deeply personal yet fiercely political, tender and compelling, humorous but deadly serious. Harnessing the vernacular of advertising, Stimulus Package prompts us to consider, how we can meaningfully engage with one another, feel connected and inspired, and bring people together in a time where we are increasingly apart? Check out this map with locations of artists works and further details.
Monday 1st February, 2021
BROWNFACE, ed. by Winnie Dunn
BROWNFACE is now published, with guest editor Winnie Dunn, features a plethora of amazing
bla(c)k and brown writers and a young overview of some of my art over the past ten years.
Big thanks to Kent MacCarter and Urvi Majumdar for making this happen.
Cordite 100: BROWNFACE features work by Munawwar Abdulla, Asiel Adan-Sanchez, Christine Afoa, Munira Tabassum Ahmed, Tahlea Aualiitia, Cassandra Barnett, Miguel Barretto Garcia, Ema Bell, Beth Brown, Debbie Karol Butay, Josh Cake, Luoyang Chen, Sally Chik, Eileen Chong, W H Chong, Pooja Chowdhary, Lisa Collyer, Niki David, Brad David, Andrea de Kauwe, T De Los Reyes, Lawdenmarc Decamora, Marilyn Dumont, Sophie Finlay, Phil Fresh, Mukund Gnanadesikan, Suchi Govindarajan, Ariana Haghighi, Maya Hodge, Leki Jackson-Bourke, Megan Kaminski, Lesh Karan, Raelee Lancaster, Andréa Ledding, Harold Legaspi, Ivy Luo, Phoebe Lupton, Janaka Malwatta, Linda Martin, Guido Melo, Beth Merindah, Suzi Mezei, Marziya Mohammedali, Jazz Money, Daiane Moret, Sam Morley, Rashida Murphy, Kynpham Nongkynrih, Lulu Nyirenda, Thuy On, Yu Ouyang, Taofia Pelesasa, Indrani Perera, Chris Price, Daley Rangi, Nadia Rhook, Roberta Joy Rich, Sara Saleh, Nnadi Samuel, Victor Senthinathan, Elfie Shiosaki, Alex Skovron, Brylle Tabora, Alice Te Punga Somerville, Annie Te Whiu, Josef Tomáš, Ling Toong, Rilwan Tukur, Emele Ugavule, Ranu Uniyal, Saba Vasefi, Himaja Wijesinghe and Jiahui Wu.
Tuesday 15th December, 2020
How artists turned to the postal service,
Art Guide, Issue 128.
Article written by Nanette Orly, featuring works by Jessica Clarke, Anna John, Phuong Ngo,
Roberta Joy Rich and EJ Son.
Wednesday 7th October 5pm - 6pm, 2020
Who’s Afraid of Public Space? Think Tank #2 – Collaboration and Community,
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Wurundjeri lands (Melbourne, Australia).
A lively digital discussion, Think Tank #2 will engage with ideas of collaboration, collectivity, community engaged practice and the commons, as part of the Think Tank series as part of ACCA’s forthcoming exhibition Who’s Afraid of Public Space?
Presented in partnership with Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC), and moderated by FCAC Artistic Director and co-CEO Daniel Santangeli, the panel will include contributors Eugenia Flynn, Kent Morris, Roberta Joy Rich and Kate Sulan. Developed with an assembly of advisors and collaborators, Who’s Afraid of Public Space? is a research, publication and exhibition project which ACCA is developing over 2020–22. ACCA has partnered with Abbotsford Convent, Arts Project Australia, Blak Dot, Bus Projects and FCAC to present a dispersed program of exhibitions and projects that consider critical ideas as to what constitutes public culture and to ask who might it be for?
You can listen back to the online forum via Soundcloud here.
Friday 28th August - 1 November, 2020
Incinerator Art Award : Art for Social Change, Incinerator Gallery,
Wurundjeri lands, (Aberfeldie, Victoria, Australia).
The Incinerator Art Award online exhibition will be launching with a live stream of the awards ceremony on Friday, 28 August at 6pm. The Awards will be presented by judges Andy Butler (Program Curator Westspace. Artist, writer and curator)., Esther Anatolitis (Deputy Chair, Contemporary Arts Precincts; Honorary Associate Professor, RMIT School of Art) and Hannah Presley (Curator of Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Victoria).
The Incinerator Art Award 2020 shortlisted finalists are: @covid19quilt Project, led by Kate Just and Tal Fitzpatrick, Amala Groom, Azza Zein, The Bureau for the Organisation of Origins (BOO), Carly Fischer, Chelle Destefano, Cyrus Tang, Desmond Mah, Devi Seetharam, Elham Eshraghian, Georgia Banks, Hineani Tunoa Roberts, Jayanto Tan, Karla Pringle, MJ Flamiano, Nicholas Burridge, Nina Sanadze, Roberta Joy Rich, Sally Foster, Sha Sarwari, Shivanjani Lal, Varuni Kanagasundaram.
A massive congratulations to winners Cyrus Tang and Sha Sarwari! Look out for their exhibitions at the Incinerator Gallery next year. The exhibition is now viewable online, plus Artist and Curator Symposium Talks (I feature in the Identity and Community Panel), and you can vote for your favourite artwork for the People's Choice Award.
Friday 21st August - 30th August, 2020.
Momentum, West Projections Festival.
Join in the opening West Projections Festival 2020 with a free live online forum, “between the work” featuring this year’s commissioned artists.
Date: 21st August 2020
Time: 4pm - 5pm
This year, West Projections Festival invites Paola Balla, Jonathan Homsey, Roberta Joy Rich, Jody Haines, Alison Bennett, Siying Zhou, Jess Dubblu and Shae Rooke, and Victoria University Polytechnic students to present new work in conjunction with a retrospective work, to explore our theme of Momentum.
"Momentum as the theme for West Projections Festival 2020 arose from reflecting on the festival’s development over its seven year history—on the artists and artworks we have presented over this time. We look back at what we have created, learned, sensed and produced in previous years, to conceptualise a space that best holds what we see changing around us. By working retrospectively, we hope to generate momentum towards potential futures."
Monday 22nd June, 2020
Copies Can Lead, Liminal Magazine and FBi Radio Digital Art Auction, FBi Radio
For the last couple of months, I have been collaborating with writer Ava Amedi towards Liminal Magazine's current series of digital writing and art themed glitch. New collage works, Arrest No. 1,
No. 2 and No. 3 (Arrest Triptych), 2020, as part of the essay Copies Can Lead is now online!
Detail from Arrest No. 3, 2020.
...and the FBi Radio Digital Art Auction bidding continues until this Friday 7pm, and to celebrate FBi Radio are throwing a live-streamed party called FINAL COUNTDOWN; programmed by audience recommendations and will be counting down the final 60 minutes of bidding from 6-7pm on Twitch. If you'd like to request a song you can head to fbiradio.com/artauction.
There are amazing artists and works in this years auction and I felt honoured and gushy to be
selected by artist and curator Talia Smith in her top picks for 10 Magazine!
Monday 15th - Friday 26th June, 2020
FBi Radio Digital Art Auction, FBi Radio, Sydney, Australia.
Join FBi Radio ~ online ~ for the FBi Radio Digital Art Auction
Monday 10am 15 June to 7pm Friday 26 June
Featuring over 70 of Australia's most exciting established artists and next big things including:
Abdul Abdullah, Abdullah M.I. Syed, Alex Seton, Alice Couttoupes, Amala Groom, Anna Pogossova, Barbara Cleveland, Belem Lett, Blak Douglas, Chris Yee, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, David Griggs, Dean Cross, Deborah Kelly, Dennis Golding , Elena Papanikolakis, Eliza Gosse, Emily Hunt, Emily Parsons-Lord, Esther Olsson, Evi O, Garry Trinh, Genevieve Felix Reynolds, Glenn Barkley, Grace Blake, Hyun Lee, India Mark, Izabela Pluta , Jack Lanagan Dunbar, Jamie North, Janet Laurence, Jason Phu, Joan Ross, John A Douglas, Justene Williams, Kalanjay Dhir, Ken Done, Kenny Pittock, Khaled Sabsabi, Koji Ryui, Kuba Dorabialski, Lindy Lee, Lisa Sammut, Lynda Draper, Marian Tubbs, Marikit Santiago, Martyn Hodge, Mason Kimber, Megan Cope, Meng-Yu Yan, Mike Parr, Nadia Odlum, Nathan Beard, Nick Santoro, Owen Leong, Phil James, Prue Stent and Honey Long, Reg Mombassa, Roberta Rich, Sabella D'Souza, Sarah Contos, Shivanjani Lal, Sidney McMahon, Sofiyah Ruqayah, Stevie Fieldsend, Tané Andrews, Tina Havelock Stevens, Tom Blake, Tom Polo, Tony Albert, TV Moore, Vipoo Srivilasa and Zoe Wong.
I'm sure we can all agree 2020 and COVID-19 has brought concerning circumstances that has affected us all in varying ways. I hope wherever you may be reading this from, you and your loved ones are safe and keeping well. If you're in a position to donate to communities that may not have access to safety, support, food and living essentials, there is a First Nations Mutual Aid Fund based in Victoria, Australia accepting donations online, and an extensive list of organisations in South Africa, province specific and nationwide, detailing the organisation, relief offered, support needed and their contact details (please note +27 country code for phone numbers). There is also an online fund (I think Johannesburg based) that specifically supports LGBTQI+ community in South Africa here.
I kept news of an award I received early 2020 pretty quiet that would enable me the opportunity of a studio residence for 3 months at the Cemeti Institute for Art and Society in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
I have postponed this journey and continue to work in Narrm (Melbourne) and have revisited older projects and conjuring new ideas.
Coloured™ wearable art is back in stock :-) A second edition Narrm print run of the 'rainbow split fountain' on white tee/sweater is available as well as the gold on black series.
If keen to order DM me; cheap contact-less courier service is available too.
Other projects are in the works, but for now here is a pic of me wearing Coloured™
Sunday 15th March, 2020
Join me for a free panel discussion as part of the Melbourne Art Book Fair 2020 at NGV International, Melbourne. I'll be discussing my approach to archives, in particular from my residencies in South Africa and their use in my practice, as well as my rejection of them as a strategy of reclamation. Chaired by Channon Goodwin (Bus Projects) I'll be speaking alongside Melissa McGrath,
David Mutch and Paul Andrew.
BLINDSIDE Gallery in partnership with the National Trust invited me to participate in their inaugural Mooramong Residency program. Situated on Wathaurong country almost 3 hours west of Narrm Melbourne, I joined artists Anna May Kirk and Manisha Anjali to engage in research, creativity and learn about the site and potentially respond creatively. Here's a little sample from the residency project; I'll shout out when the forthcoming public panel at BLINDSIDE is happening, that will reflect on the residency as well as the development of the #arentwerich photo series.
Saturday 10th August - Saturday 7th September, 2019
The Freedman Foundation; Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists Exhibition, UNSW Galleries,
Dharug country, (Sydney, Australia).
Friday 9th August - Sunday 18th August, 2019
The Cinema of the Past Begins with a Battle, as part of West Projections 2019.
Boonwurrung lands, (Footscray) Australia.
I had the privilege of collaborating with a dear friend and peer Narrm artist Abyss for this years West Projections video projection festival. This project was quite significant for both of us, as residents within the work's locale and the current issues we are concerned with, and subsequently propose within the artwork. I encourage you to listen to DJ Abyss' weekly radio broadcast on 3CR's Hip Sista Hop show on Sundays from 4pm - 5pm.
West Projections launches Friday 9th August at VU Metro West from 6.30pm - 9pm. There will also be a guided walk on August 15th from 6pm. For more about where you can see our work, head to the
Image Credit: Abyss
Saturday 6th July - Sunday 28th July, 2019
Speak softly, tread heavily, Peacock Gallery, Auburn, New South Wales, Australia.
Speak softly, tread heavily, curated by Talia Smith, brings together different perspectives and experiences of navigating culture, traditions and languages within a multicultural society. The exhibition features works by Zoe Wong (pictured), Kevin Diallo, Mojgan Habibi, Naomi Segal, Nadia Hernandez, Moorina Boonini, Linda Sok, Katayoun Javan and myself.
Coming up in June, 2019
WE KOPPEL, WE DALA, Metro Arts, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Exhibition opens: 6pm, Wednesday June 26th 2019
Solo Exhibition by Roberta Joy Rich. Catalogue essay by Naomi Velaphi.
Public programs: 3pm Saturday June 29th, Spoken Word workshop with Anisa Nandula
3pm Saturday July 13th, Artist talk in conversation with Sancintya Mohini Simpson
We Koppel, We Dala presents narratives of southern African origins that explore concepts of identity, migration, self-determination and representation. Painful artefacts remind us of oppressive histories and their ongoing impacts. Apartheid continues. Disguised globally. Framed within South African Apartheid history, the exhibition seeks to consider adjacent histories of colonialism such as that of
so-called ‘Australia’ and its own histories of segregation, and to acknowledge this.
We Koppel, We Dala explores personal relationships within these histories, by occupying significant sites of reclamation and loss: the mountains where Khoi and San ancestors traversed; memorials of
the 76’ youth uprisings; sites of removed of colonial statues; and visiting former family residences.
Fist thrust into the air, the artist acknowledges connection to place and history. The plight of residents of District Six and many other communities who were displaced as a result of South Africa’s Group Areas Act, continues 50 years on, though not in silence. Because we must koppel, we must dala.
Friday March 15th - Sunday March 17th, 2019
Melbourne Art and Book Fair 2019, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
This year, Bus Projects commissioned me to create a limited edition of works for their stall as part of the Melbourne Art and Book Fair at NGV. Wipe away your fragility, 2019 is an embroidery on handkerchief work available for sale through Bus Projects online shop. All proceeds go towards Bus Projects, one of Narrm Melbourne's longest running artist run initiatives.
Wednesday March 13th, 2019
Part A: It's speachy, Her Africa is Real (H.A.I.R), Seventh Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia.
Over a busy summer and start to 2019, I have been quietly working in a new and exciting collective! We have been fortunate to be accepted into ArtsHouse' Culture LAB program, receive support from Next Wave's BMI Artist Development program, and have our first public iteration at Seventh Gallery.
Her Africa Is Real is an interdisciplinary project, including Naomi Velaphi, Sista Zai Zanda and myself. As southern African diaspora identities in an antipodean context, we come together to discuss and create works that challenge erasure and assert black representation, histories and narratives. Her Africa Is Real employs contemporary methodologies of performance, literature, soundscape and installation to reimagine the “traditional” archive, and present our narratives and histories within the context of so called ‘Australia’.
Part A: it’s speachy. is about dialogue and conversation that interrogate voice, critique and response.
In this exhibition, Her Africa Is Real appropriate Reverend Alpheus Zulu’s 1972 Cape Town University Lecture, titled ‘The Dilemma of the Black South African’, as a foundation to assert their herstories. A mash up of fragmented text, loops, commentary and performance, the exhibition invites the viewer into a cacophony of conversation.
Exhibition opens Wednesday 13th March and runs until 29th March 2019.
Image Credit: Channon Goodwin.
Wednesday March 6th, 2019
The Fairest Cape? An account of a Coloured, Firstdraft, Sydney, Australia.
I had the privilege of touring this exhibition to Firstdraft, Sydney and revisiting this series of work and works still yet to be exhibited in this research project. The exhibition opens Wednesday 6th of March, running until Friday 29th March. Artist talks will be held at 6pm on Thursday 28th March.
Inside Auden House facing De Korte street, 2017, Digital Image. Image courtesy of the artist.
Detail of Our Time, African Faces, African Unionism and Democracy, 2018.
Digital prints on acrylic with pine shelf, dimensions variable. Image Credit; Zelé Angelides.
© Copyright Roberta Joy Rich 2022. All images by and courtesy of the artist unless otherwise credited.