Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, The Domain. Daily, 10am5pm (until 10pm on Wednesdays). Admission free. Inquiries: 1800 679 278 or online. Until May 1. Richard Bell A significant solo exhibition by the provocative indigenous Australian artist, centred on three recent video projects. Bell is known for his works that confront Australia’s race relations, or as Bell describes his objectives, “an activist masquerading as an artist”. Murray Art Museum Albury, 546 Dean Street, Albury. Admission free. Inquiries: (02) 6043 5800 or online. Until January 24. Horrible Histories: Pirates The first Australian exhibition based on the bestselling children’s history series invites families to experience life as a pirate: climb on board ships, design flags, test their weaponry and indulge in piratespeak. The exhibition includes more than 100 objects from shipwrecks including coins, cannonballs, beads and a jug from the Batavia. Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Sydney. Daily, 9.30am-5pm. Admission: $12-$20. Bookings: (02) 9298 3777 or online. Celestial Empire: Life in China 1644-1911 To Western eyes, China’s cultural continuity over the millennia is staggering. Yet it would be a mistake to see Chinese culture as monolithic and unchanging, says Nathan Woolley, China scholar and curator of Celestial Empire. This exhibition, in partnership with the National Library of China in Beijing, presents an extraordinary array of illustrated texts, popular and official, from the Qing dynasty, the last to rule China. “All the dynasties would remould the Chinese past in their own way,” says Woolley. “That’s part of Encounters The culmination of a historymaking partnership between the National Museum of Australia and the British Museum, Encounters will showcase more than 150 items from the BM’s Australian indigenous collection, as well as dozens of works by contemporary indigenous artists. Most of the BM objects — including a shield collected at Botany Bay in 1770 — have not been exhibited in Australia since they were collected in the early days of settlement. National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra. Admission free. Inquiries: 1800 026 132 or online. Until March 28. Family Space: Amusement Parlour Free children’s activities will take place over the school holidays inspired by the macabre portraits and photographs of Australian criminals in Sideshow Alley. National Portrait Gallery, King Edward Terrace, Parkes. Opens today, 11am. Admission: free. Inquiries: (02) 6102 7000 or online. Until January 24.