Words come easy to Vernon Ah Kee. They come effortlessly, not only from his life experience as a student during one of Australia’s most corrupt and oppressive state governments, the Bjelke-Petersen era in Queensland, but also through his reading of African–American intellectuals, such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and James Baldwin. These writers alerted him to the commonality of his experience as a black man in a white society.

With his incisive text-based art, Vernon fills gaping holes in the arts and the body politic, both of which are presently bereft of critical discourse. This is where and when Vernon Ah Kee, excels as an artist, an Aboriginal activist and social critic.


The artist gratefully acknowledges Professor Irene Watson, Pro Vice Chancellor Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy, and the Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia