Presented with the State Library Victoria

Pay The Rent

Richard Bell

  • Art Installation
  • Free
Wheelchair AccessibleWheelchair Access
A digital clock shows the total showing over 1000 trillion dollars on a a colonial building

A running total of what’s owed to the First Nations’ people of this land.

Numbers don't lie. In 2022, artist Richard Bell (Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman, and Gurang Gurang) debuted Pay The Rent in Kassel, Germany for Documenta 15. The staggering sum, zooming upwards in red digits, represents the continual calculation of the rent owed to First Nations people by the Australian Government since Federation in 1901 for the use of their lands.

Since the work was first displayed in 2022, it's travelled to the Tate Gallery in London. Now it's time give it its Australian debut in Naarm for RISING. And it's still ticking. As Bell says, the reason it’s here is “to show that it's too expensive to play this colonisation game. Don't do it, because you'll never be able to pay for it.”