Artist Statement

My Dead Letter Men is a series of direct (yet imagined) communication in the form of letters written to (primarily) dead artists (including musicians, writers and visual artists) to construct a space for telling the stories of a female addressing the gender and power imbalance in creative industries.

It explores how toxic behaviour and abuse in the workplace (and wider society) is tolerated all the way from lack of credit through to criminal behaviour. The visual components of my installation (through their music, music video and fashion influences or street art / art influences) and my thirty five years working in broadcasting / the music industry as an audio engineer, an architect, an aerosol artist and now a photographer as well as having played and listened to music since I was very young and having many musician friends and partners help tie me to the artists Prince, Kirsty MacColl, Anthony Lister and Michael Hutchence.

My aim is to open up a dialogue using strategies of humour, feminist critique, appropriation and mixed media through contemporary art practice about why bad, even criminal behaviour by males is tolerated, hushed up or not dealt with appropriately both at the community / organisation level and the justice system. 

This is currently an ongoing project which I intend to exhibit with further video installations and write further letters that will publish as a book.

15 March 2020


Paisley Park Chanhassen, MN USA 55317

Dear Prince,

Firstly, thanks for the music. Well, actually a very small part of it, considering your 41 years in the business. But the early stuff was good. And I admire that you can play 27 instruments and when you got your 1st record deal the confidence to insist that, at the ripe old age of 19, you would produce it yourself. Of course you did! But there is a fine line between confidence & arrogance and you err on the side of the later. And quite frankly, it’s unattractive.

I know you bang on about how you are not sexist, breaking new ground in the 80’s hiring female musicians and audio engineers and having them in your band. And true, Wendy & Lisa, clearly, was never going to be a thing. But that didn’t mean you didn’t use them. Oh yes, ‘I’m going to make you a star’ over and over again. But I guess you didn’t discriminate with gender, colour nor sexual preference when it came to using people and spitting them out when they wanted just a little recognition or a bit of the spotlight you enjoyed so much, because of them.

But it was sad, you dying alone in the elevator of your empire ‘Paisley Park’ only to be found by a fan who called it in. 911 asked ‘and what is your relationship to him?’, to which he was speechless. Yet, living alone, it is probably better than I will get. I can assure you, there will be no fan to find me dead and ring it in.

And so there is my point, Prince. I just feel like you could have done so much more with what you had. Talent, looks, money & fame. Whereas most of us (especially female) artists have to be better than you to even get anywhere. Even then, play your patriarchal game. Or if we happen to be attached to someone like you, taking a back seat. I just feel you squandered your privilege.

But I’m still paying the hefty $280 to do the full, whizz bang VIP 3hr tour of your estate when I come in June. But only because my brother is paying the difference between that and the standard $160 one for my birthday. See you then. Haha. That was a joke. I figured you could use a little sense of humour.

Sincerely yours,

Belinda Keyte 

15th May 2021 Superfluity c/o 3RRR

Dear Casey, Christos and Clem,

I’m just gonna tell you right off the bat that I’ve had to sever all ties to Superfluity. Listening to you. Support you in any way, writing to you (until now, for a reason) or subscribing to the show at Radiothon. I still very much love 3RRR though. And I feel very sad, as I used to really enjoy the show. The odd song that came up that took me back to a time and place. Playing along, sometimes learning stuff. All tainted now.

It was the not reading of the Prince anniversary letter. As I see it, making you complicit in that kind of behaviour. It was a pertinent issue. It wasn’t meant to be political. Simply what I wanted to say to him. What I WOULD have said to him, had I had the chance. But by not reading it, you made it political, for me.

Look, the track from the alternate, adoring letter you chose to play, ‘Chelsea Rogers’.....seriously? A track that sums up his career in a befitting fashion? I could give you a better Prince track for every Kg of my body weight, or his, for that matter. Including the one I gave you. I feel it needs to include some ‘cussing’ (as Prince would say) like he wined and dined on for so long, then did a 180° on, telling all and sundry in his presence not too. Only to pay homage to the conundrum, I would say genius, he was. And also the unashamed, cringe worthy, female objectification that is Prince’s signature stamp, throughout his career.

It was a decent enough funk groove but I’m pretty sure anybody can tell Prince’s involvement on that track is more of a producer / casting agent. Even if he does have the writing credit (with The Revolution). I mean, if you were the best of the best funk muso’s and Prince asked you to come and play, wouldn’t you? Prince is actually credited with ‘all vocals and instruments, except where noted’ which goes on to credit pretty much everything you hear in the track except the funky guitar lick and a bit of spoken word and vocals that kind of gets lost in the mix. Haha, classic Prince.

You said ‘I didn’t spare him’ in the letter. Was I supposed to? Was I? Like you did? Like the courts did to, say, Anthony Lister? An artist I’d also admired before I found out he was a dick to everybody, regardless of gender, arrested and up multiple sexual abuse charges, including rape. All from women that somehow worked with him. He should be in jail and got off with a fine. Which was hushed up, by the way. Or like Scott Morrison did to the male employee of the Australian government accused of raping Brittany Higgins? Only backpedaling after he’d ‘had a talk with (his wife)’ and bringing his daughters into it. And all the stuff about the culture of misogyny in the ‘nation’s halls of power’ that came to light, after. And that’s only 2 of recently reported occurrences of here.

By ‘sparing’ people, we are not only complicit, we help perpetuate that toxic behaviour in the workplace. Using their power and position to hurt and abuse others. Telling them, ‘It’s ok, you’re an artist..., a politician...someone important’. Or is just ‘male’ enough to make it ok?

I’m just severely disappointed. You often talk about humanity and kindness. I guess huMANity. Not the trail of victims left behind. After all, in this case, Prince is an artist. Written some great songs. Famous. A legend. Probably very sensitive, being an artist, and all. But still, dead. So who are we really protecting here?

I’ve worked in creative industries for over 35 years and despite everything, nothing much has changed.

And it’s upsetting to me to find out people you look up to are not what you thought. I just call it as I see it. As one of his biggest fans. I wasn’t asking you to stop playing his music.

You already had one strike for playing Michael Jackson (well, Jackson 5) only weeks before. I reckon by reading the room, it’s clear that it’s pretty much a 3RRR no go policy with that guy.

All I’m saying is, check yo’ self before you wreck your self. The song is Kirsty MacColl ‘All I ever wanted’. Did I ‘spare you?’ Well it could have been ‘Closer to God’.

Kirsty got mowed down by some rich prick’s speedboat in Mexico whilst she was protecting her son from the blow. The guy walked free after getting fined about 700 pesos. Thats not much change from $100. I guess the courts spared him. I wonder whether it had of been different, had it been Prince? Happy International Women’s Day.

Sincerely yours, Belinda Keyte

28th August 2021

Dear Kirsty,
Hello. I first became aware of your music in the late 80’s or maybe 1990.

I remember thinking about the lyrics to ‘Walking down Madison’, ‘From an uptown apartment to a knife on the 8 train, it’s not that far’ that’s how I felt.

I just think you should have been way more famous than you were. You write, play and sing your own songs, your voice is great, you have worked with so many great musicians. And I only mention your then famous producer husband, Steve Lillywhite, as it meant you were exposed to other musicians you worked with, and also, good production.

I recently watched a documentary on Shane MacGowan. He said about ‘Fairytale in New York’....there is no way it would have been such a hit without you.

Johnny Marr from the Smiths tells a funny story from when you were working with him and Keith Richards. You would walk in after a take and pretty much tell them to get their shit together and do it properly. Keith Richards and Johnny Marr. Two of the world’s best guitarists.

Anyway the mid 1990’s was me traveling, broken relationships, getting into Zen buddhism and living in the USA. Then returning to Sydney in 2000. I remember hearing you had died and me thinking / assuming it was something like cancer.

I’m thinking....(at the time) I’d just finished my 1st year of Architecture at Uni. A 90 hour week plus 3 part time jobs....So kind of distracted.

Anyway, I only recently became aware of the horrifying truth...I’m really sorry. Viva por siempre el Kirsty. Its a graffed line I saw on a building in Santiago de Cuba (but about Che). I think it’s fitting.


Belinda Keyte 

8th September 2021

Mister Lister,

I remember first becoming aware of you upon seeing an exhibition of yours in Surry Hills, NSW. I liked the ballerinas.

But then I moved to Adelaide and became a bit more entrenched in the scene there. I have got to say I have not heard ANYBODY that has met you or has had anything to do with you say that you are anything other than a complete dick. Male, female, young or old, established, emerging or just starting out.

Soiling other (local, respected) artist’s work with your junky scrawl moniker, like a cat marking his territory? I mean, tagging is soooo 1980’s, right?

Time and time again I read you have ‘been likened to British artist Banksy’. By whom? Or did you manufacture that? Please, indulge me....on what level are you in any way like Banksy?

Oh, now I get it. The wanted by police thing. Yeah, but that’s not the same, drugging & raping and other sex offences along with the later charges of possessing all types of drugs and firearms. 18 and 19 year old art students? Woman that worked for you or were under your care as interns?

I’ve read and I’ve read. I’ve researched. I read about the additional drug, indecent assault and firearm charges in June last year. And that the trial was to be heard at Downing Centre Local Court in August last year. And then the profanity ridden graffiti against Roxy Jacenko...

Yet, it is now more than a year after your reported court date and I can find NOTHING about your conviction. Nothing about the trial at all.

Word on the street in my community of street / aerosol artists and gallery owners is that you got off with a fine and it was hushed up by your agent....It is truly confounding to me that someone can get off being charged with criminal charges of rape with a fine.

I’ve already upset myself, just telling you what I wanted to, from the perspective of a female artist. Seriously, WAKE UP!

Belinda Keyte 

26th September 2021

Hi Michael,

I’m not sure if you remember me. I first met you when I was 14 years old when you dropped my sister home after a gig. She was the receptionist at ‘Deluxe records’ when you were there. Georgie.

The band were very kind to me, letting me hang backstage if I came to a gig. I remember one time at a show I was up the front and you came down and took my hat off and wore it. I can’t remember the song. Then popped it back on my head. It made me feel really special. But that was your gift.

I went on to become an audio engineer, working at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for 12 years (and later overseas).

A few years later I ran into you at my friends gig. The 2 or 3 times I had contact with you at shows, you were always so nice. Generous. Warm. And kind of shy. And a little bit insecure. The absolute opposite of when you were onstage.

I’d heard something about the accident where you got punched and your head got badly hit. Then I really did not get the Paula Yates relationship. I just didn’t get it. Also a lot of stuff that ensued that was in the press. It just wasn’t the happy guy I’d met and watched over 15 years. Angry, publicly slagging people off, sullen.

The next I heard was the news of you being found dead in the Double Bay hotel room.

Years later I went to see the premiere of the Richard Lowenstein documentary movie about you, ‘Mystify’. 22 years after your death. I was numb by the end. In tears. In shock. Turns out that blow you got back in Copenhagen was fatal. It’s just so sad and I am so sorry that the sweet charismatic young man that I knew, that everybody knew, lived in so much pain and anger for the last part of your life due to brain damage.

I’m hoping you are at peace now. Love,

Belinda Keyte 

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