Past exhibitions

shock and ore current exhibition

Charles Darwin University Art Gallery

To be opened by Maurice O’Riordan

4 August 2022 at 5.30pm

With an authoritative and defiant hand, Shock & Ore bursts forth a hype of guerrilla theatre. It calls on the heroes of the old world and new. Archetypal champions claim the stage, parading their power and misadventure, alluding to a pastiche of conflict and pillage. Painted story boards, fuel drums and TVs sendup pipedreams from the colonial project and hint at the collateral damage of its offensive. Angels and promises take wing only to be shot down in flames. Incantations from ashes manifest as jewels on paper with their iridescent coding and song maps. In this exhibition, the Brio bravely declare their stories of living culture from Country: a psalm of Ancestral power, alchemy and renewal.

The Tennant Creek Brio is an artist collective based on Warumungu Country in the town of Tennant Creek. They navigate their individual practices through a collective spirit of energetic and transformative work, captured by their name brio, a word meaning mettle, vigour or a sparkling vivacity of performance. The Brio collective honours connectivity. Their studio is a place of empowerment, brotherhood and dissemination.

The collective began as an Aboriginal men’s art therapy program in 2016 through Anyinginyi Aboriginal Health Organisation, under the direction of artist Rupert Betheras. This art therapy program targeted men with issues of alcohol and substance misuse. The creative depth of Joseph Williams along with the magical talent of Fabian Brown were instrumental in helping to give the collective traction among local men. By 2018, the program moved out of Anyinginyi and under Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre and the core Brio members — Marcus Camphoo, Simon Wilson, Lindsay Nelson, Clifford Thompson — were joined by master carver and cultural leader Jimmy Frank. His pedigree, and that of other invited artist-diplomats brought gravitas to their exposure at the 2020 Sydney Biennale.

Unconstrained by the usual conventions of central desert art, the Brio are action painters and visual story-tellers surviving the vestiges of colonial histories and outback mining town boom. They have big hearts against brutal odds and express their bravado and battles in a broad repertoire of imaginings and code. At times they appropriate eclectic archetypes of super villains and mystical creatures to play out narratives drawn from religious, cinematic and cultural chronicles. Utilising various discarded materials and debris from the backstreets of Tennant Creek and the underground mining labyrinths, they wrestle traumatic relics and the dark underbelly of the mining beast and its wreckage into a generative form of reconstruction and redemption.

Shock & Ore is curated by Dr Erica Izett.

SHOCK & ORE is presented across two galleries – the expansive CDU Art Gallery from 5 August – 22 October 2022 and the more intimate Coconut Studios from 5 August – 18 September 2022.

Longwater title logo

24 March –9 July 2022

Long water: fibre stories illuminates spiritual, ancestral, and physical connections to water through fibre practices of artists from Yuwaalaraay (North West NSW), Quandamooka (Moreton Bay, South East QLD), Kuku Yalanji (Far North QLD), Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait Islands, QLD), Yurruwi (Milingimbi Island, NT), and surrounding homelands. Together this group—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, spanning different generations and ancestries—share an inseparable relationship to water, be it the vast sea, inland waterways, or expansive river systems.

Water places have always been a well-spring of vitality, knowledge, and connection for people and culture, yet these sites also resonate with the experiences of colonisation, difficult histories, and the pressing environmental concerns of today.

Similarly, fibre work communicates a strong sense of history, place, and knowing, found in the meanings, materials, and processes of production. In long water, artists embed the links between water and weaving in intricate forms, layered prints, and spirited installations that are guided by ancestral memory and grounded in personal interpretations.

Collectively, long water celebrates the stories of regeneration and continuation of important cultural traditions, and the strong women and vital water places that sustain them. The country, and wide range of environments, practices, and knowledge represented speak to both deep time and contemporary experiences—bringing into focus the importance of water to our cultural health and our capacity for resilience.
This exhibition has been developed through relationships with artists and communities, particularly the Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre and Moa Arts.
Long water logoset

 Image: Jacki Fleet,<i> Fire flies </i>, 1998, charcoal and gouache on paper; 58 x 77 cm; Charles Darwin University Art Collection, CDU1689

DRAWN from the CDU Art Collection 

Sketches, drawings, illustrations and works-on-paper from 1976 to 2021 

30 September 2021 – February 26 2022 

DRAWN from the Charles Darwin University Art Collection celebrates drawing as a means by which to slow down, observe the world and draw into being - with hand-made marks - that which we see, sense and experience.

DRAWN presents sketches, drawings, illustrations and works-on-paper acquired by the university since 1980. DRAWN reinforces the importance of drawing as a foundational technique to artistic practice. Eclectic in style, scale and content, the 60 drawings on display – executed in pencil [graphite], crayon, ink, pen, charcoal, pastel, conté and even photocopy toner – affirm the power of the hand-made mark. The exhibition features artworks by 30 Australian and Indonesian artists created between 1976 until 2021.

DRAWN from the CDU Art Collection implicitly documents the 40-year history of the Charles Darwin University Art Collection. Many of the drawings displayed in DRAWN were acquired in the early 1980s by the Darwin Community College Art Committee. The committee’s vision was outward-looking as they acquired artworks by emerging interstate artists, many of whom became acclaimed Australian artists. More recently, the mandate of the CDU Art Collection has focused on Territory-based artists, including former staff and alumni of Charles Darwin University, many of whom are represented in DRAWN. Several works by Indonesian artists are also featured in the exhibition, indicative of the increasing focus on acquiring art by South east Asian artists for the CDU Art Collection.


These artists have artworks featured in DRAWN: John Beard, Peter Booth, Jon Cattapan, Douglas Chambers, Janenne Eaton, Jacki Fleet, Richard Goodwin and Bärbel Rothhaar, Chris Healey, Winsome Jobling, Jumaadi, Tjilpi Kunmanara Kankapankatja, Tim Maguire, Mandy Martin, Terry Matassoni, Jane Mervin, Rod Moss, Estelle Munkanome, Michael Muruste, Bernard Ollis, Mike Parr, I Wayan Pendet, I Wayan Rajin, Christian Clare Robertson, Karen Rogers, I Gusti Putu Sana, Neridah Stockley, Tisha Tejaya, Tony Tuckson, Phillip Merrdi Wilson and Alison Worsnop.

See the exhibition online here.

DRAWN from the CDU Art Collection public programs


An exhibition by Therese Ritchie

10 June – 28 August 2021

YOU ARE HERE - an exhibition by Therese Ritchie

YOU ARE HERE is an exhibition with truth-telling at its core. Artivist, Therese Ritchie, factually examines Australia’s frontier wars and the massacre of Indigenous peoples alongside the nation’s history of coal extraction and infrastructure development implemented by European settlers, mining companies and successive Australian governments. YOU ARE HERE is an unflinching examination of how we got to where we are now. 

Created in 2020, Ritchie’s most recent tour de force - YOU ARE HERE - unrelentingly makes apparent her intense discomfort with the processes of land appropriation that resulted in the formation of the Australian nation. Her evocative use of visual digital imagery – much of which is appropriated from familiar historical Australian paintings of landscapes and events commemorating the arrival of European’s in Australia – is overlaid with text and timelines that account for a litany of events, misdemeanours, atrocities, discoveries, manoeuvres and ploys that lead us to this culminating moment in Australia’s history. YOU ARE HERE prompts the need for wider conversations about truth-telling, care for country, the future of mining and issues of sovereignty in 2021 and is accompanied by a series of engaging public programs. 

Ritchie is Alumni of CDU and an accomplished and committed Darwin-based artist whose art is socially engaged. CDU Art Collection holds the largest collection of Ritchie’s artwork in Australia, some of which was featured in the exhibition Not Dead Yet: a retrospective exhibition of Therese Ritchie and Chips Mackinolty, presented at CDU Art Gallery, 2010. A survey exhibition and eponymous catalogue, Therese Ritchie: Burning Hearts was presented at Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 2019-20. The exhibition is curated by Dr Joanna Barrkman, Curator, CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery.YOU ARE HERE is supported by a COVID-19 Response Grant, Arts NT, Northern Territory Government. 

Download the public program HERE and HERE.

Warning: Please be advised that the content of this exhibition may cause distress to viewers - especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

IMAGE: Therese Ritchie (b.1961) They all look the same to me, 2021, digital inkjet print, 50h x 80w cm [image]; 60h x 90w cm [paper]; CDU Art Collection, CDU3404.

John Mawurndjul banner

Charles Darwin University Art Gallery is delighted to present a survey of works by one of Australia's leading contemporary artists - master bark painter John Mawurndjul from 12 March 2021 until 29 May 2021. Developed and co-presented by the MCA and Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), in association with Maningrida Arts & Culture, this landmark touring exhibition includes over 50 works, spanning forty years of the artist's practice.

'Mawurndjul is not simply Australia's premier bark painter, he is one of our greatest artists of all time'
-John McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald's art critic.

'John Mawurndjul is the most celebrated bark painter living today... an artistic innovator on the world stage'
- Julie Ewington, The Monthly

John Mawurndjul AM is celebrated for his mastery of rarrk (cross-hatching) and his depiction of djang (sacred sites), a tradition shared by generations of Kuninjku artists. Bark paintings and sculptures drawn from private and public collections across the world tell the stories of Kuninjku culture and the significant locations surrounding the artist’s home in central north Arnhem Land.

Born in 1952, Mawurndjul lives and works in Milmilngkan in western Arnhem Land and Maningrida in central north Arnhem Land. Since his first exhibition in 1980, he has become one of Australia’s most widely recognised artists. In 1989 his work was included in the ground-breaking exhibition Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou and Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, and his works have been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia, America, Germany and Japan. He was the recipient of the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award in 2003, has received the Bark Painting Award at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory four times, and in 2010 was awarded an Order of Australia. In 2018 he received the highly prestigious Red Ochre Award at the Australia Council for the Arts, National Indigenous Art Awards, for his outstanding lifetime achievement in the arts.

John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new was co-curated by Clothilde Bullen (Curator,Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions, MCA), Natasha Bullock (Senior Curator, MCA), Nici Cumpston (Artistic Director, TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art) and Dr Lisa Slade (Assistant Director, Artistic Programs, Art Gallery of South Australia), with Keith Munro (Curator, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Programs, MCA) as lead Cultural Advisor; in close collaboration with John Mawurndjul AM, Kay Lindjuwanga, Ananais Jawulba and Maningrida Arts & Culture staff: Michelle Culpitt, Zebedee Bonson and Derek Carter; and interpreter/translator Dr Murray Garde.

The collections of the MCA and Art Gallery of South Australia form the genesis of the exhibition. Two barks - Nawarramulmul (Shooting Star Spirit) and Ngalyod (Female Rainbow Serpent)
(both 1988) were the first artworks accessioned into the newly-incorporated MCA Collection in 1989; and Namanjwarre, Saltwater Crocodile (also from 1988) is a cornerstone piece from the Art Gallery of South Australia Collection, representing a watershed moment in the evolution of the artist’s aesthetic.

In close collaboration with the MCA and Art Gallery of South Australia curatorial teams, John Mawurndjul led curatorial decisions and assisted in selecting the most significant artworks from his career. He was instrumental in determining the exhibition structure, which is grouped by places – or kunred – then animals and spirits, mimih, lorrkkon and etchings. The concept of kunred informs the artist’s practice, both in the materials used such as the bark of the tree, natural earth pigments and charcoal, and in the representation of ideas critical to an understanding of Kuninjku culture.

Language is an important component of this presentation, with bilingual texts embedded throughout the exhibition design – from the didactics and labels available in Kuninjku, to translated texts featured in the catalogue and on the website.

MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: ‘This exhibition will be a revelation. It recognises John Mawurndjul as one of Australia’s most important artists, and his contribution to the history of art and painting. The MCA has had a long-standing relationship with the artist, and we are very proud to have collaborated with the Art Gallery of South Australia to develop this
landmark exhibition.’

Art Gallery of South Australia and MCA curators Nici Cumpston, Dr Lisa Slade, Natasha Bullock and Clothilde Bullen added: ‘This artist-led exhibition has been an extraordinary journey across country and culture, with multiple voices working closely together to support and facilitate the artist’s vision. We hope that through the beauty of Mawurndjul’s art, and the extensive research that went into this exhibition, audiences will gain a deep understanding of the living history and culture of the Kuninjku people and their country.'

For more information and resources about the exhibition, visit

Taksu thumb

TAKSU: the Art of Bali

For the first time in many years, Darwin audiences will have the opportunity to see the rich diversity and splendour of Balinese art in an exhibition at Charles Darwin University Art Gallery. Taksu: The Art of Bali will profile recent gifts to Charles Darwin University by two of Australia’s most prominent collectors and devotees of Balinese art, Michael Abbott AO QC and the late Christopher Hill.

Highlights include early 20th century sculpture, ceremonial textiles and painted temple cloths, performance masks, and Wayang Kulit shadow puppets and paintings, that demonstrate the inextricable links between Balinese ceremonial life and creativity.  

  • Check out exhibition opening photos here
  • Download the TAKSU: the Art of Bali room brochure here (1.21MB)

Salon des Refusés 2019

8 August - 28 September

Salon des Refusés 2019 at the CDU Art Gallery

Reinvigorating the MECA Collection

28 March - 20 July 2019

Photo Gallery

Check out the Reinvigorating the MECA Collection installation shots HERE


Read the ABC News web article on Reinvigorating the MECA Collection.
ABC National Radio Art Show on Reinvigorating the MECA Collection: Listen to the podcast from the website or visit the ABC RN website to read more.
Past Public Programs at the CDU Art Gallery

Thursday 2 May, 12pm | Yasunori Hayashi, Course Coordinator of the Yolŋu Studies program at Charles Darwin University. 
A key member of the Reinvigorating the MECA Collection project, Yasunori Hayashi is passionate about learning and teaching Yolŋu languages, and particularly Yolŋu culture. “Impressed by the sound of yiḏaki (didgeridoo), I first visited Yurrwi (Milingimbi) in the early 2000s and learned to speak languages through the instrument, rather than playing!”. 

Yasunori will discuss the recent filmed documentation process of the MECA Collection artworks with people from Milingimbi and Ramingining, and how it will be incorporated into teaching and research resources for Yolŋu Studies at CDU.

Thursday 28 March, 12pm | David Morgan, Co-founder of the MECA Collection, 1970s

David Morgan arrived at Milingimbi in 1972 as the community’s first dedicated Art and Craft Advisor. In 1974 he moved to the school staff as the Literature Production Supervisor in the School’s bilingual program. It was during that time that he and the then Principal David McClay compiled the Milingimbi Educational and Cultural Association (MECA) Collection.

David will discuss the formation and intent of the MECA Collection, its removal from Milingimbi in the early 1980s and the protracted legal dispute that restored the collection to Yolngu owners in 2001.

Thursday 4 April, 12pm & Thursday 23 May, 12pm | Carolyn McLennan, Art Conservator

Following CDU Art Gallery being awarded substantial grant funding, freelance art conservator Carolyn McLennan joined the Reinvigorating the MECA Collection project to undertake conservation treatments on those works selected for exhibition. The conservation process was an intensive 10 weeks long program of documentation, cleaning, and pigment consolidation.

Join us for a fascinating insight into art conservation, as Carolyn explains her methodology and particularly how and why the bark paintings have remained in relatively great condition for more than 40 years.  

Saturday 6 April, 10am | Dr Louise Hamby (ANU) and Lindy Allen (Museums Victoria), ARC Linkage Grant researchers for The Legacy of 50 years of collecting at Milingimbi Mission, with visiting curators/researchers from the Museum der Kulturen (Basel, Switzerland) and Musée d’Ethnographie (Geneva, Switzerland)

An important ARC Linkage Grant project that culminated with the Milingimbi Makarrata in 2016, and its subsequent Resolution, Dr Louise Hamby and Lindy Allen will discuss the background to the project and the importance of the MECA Collection in the wider discourse of collecting at Milingimbi.

They will be joined by fellow researchers/curators from two eminent Swiss museums, who manage collections that include art from Milingimbi.

Still In My Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality

1 November 2018 - 16 February 2019

Image from Still in my mind exhibitionShowing at CDU Art Gallery in November, Still in my mind: Gurindji experience, location and visuality is an exhibition that considers the ongoing impact of the famous 1966 ‘Wave Hill Walk-off’, an event that saw 200 Aboriginal stockmen, station workers, and their families follow the lead of Gurindji elder Vincent Lingiari and strike in protest over poor wages and conditions.

A powerful act of self-determination, the Wave Hill Walk-off was to have far-reaching social and political repercussions in Australia and is considered pivotal to the Aboriginal land-rights movement.

Curated by Gurindji descendant and participating artist Brenda L. Croft, Still in my mind… features a diverse range of media including photographs, digital platforms and archives, Gurindji history paintings, contemporary and historical prints and drawings, and an experimental video installation.

Still in My Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality is an Artback NT Touring Exhibition curated by Brenda L Croft, produced in association with UNSW Galleries, UQ Art Museum and Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation, with support from Visions of Australia, Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Award, National Institute for Experimental Arts, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language and the Berndt research Foundation.

Panel discussion

This discussion centres on inter and intra-cultural collaboration which is a representational keystone of the exhibition 'Still in My Mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality'.

Representatives involved in 'Still in my mind' - as artists; as community members assisting in retracing the Wave Hill Walk-Off Track; as participants in history, language and song projects - discuss their distinct and interlinked roles across aspects of this multi-layered project. Panel speakers include exhibition curator, lead researcher and participating artist Brenda L. Croft, Maurie Ryan Japarta, Kathy Mills, Kerry Gibbs, Brian Manning Jnr, UQ's Dr Felicity Meakins and CDU's Dr Curtis Roman and Dr Matthew Storey.

Watch the discussion on YouTube.

Salon des Refusés 2018

8 August - 6 October


 Download the exhibition catalogue HERE (pdf. 7.92MB)

  • Check out the image gallery from the opening night here.
  • Check out the image gallery of the exhibition gallery shots here.

Yidumduma Bill Harney Bush Professor

31 May - 21 July 2018

Lirrmingining Grasshopper Man, 2007, Bark, natural pigment, vegetable fibre and feathers on wood, 142 x 128 x 7 cm, Courtesy of Stephen Roseman and Rosa SaladinoYidumduma Bill Harney: Bush Professor is an exciting retrospective celebrating the life work of Yidumduma Bill Harney, one of the last fully initiated men of the Wardaman people from the Northern Territory.

Now 85, Yidumduma grew up learning every aspect of Wardaman culture from his mother Ludi Yibuluyma and adopted father Joe Jomornji, and was also inspired by his well-known biological father William E Harney to publish several books including ‘Born Under the Paperbark Tree’.

  • Read the CDU media release for Yidumduma Bill Harney Bush Professor here.
  • Yidumduma Bill Harney, Bush Professor, exhibition opening night photo gallery
  • Exhibition shots photo gallery

People Like Us Exhibition 2018

8 March – 5 May 2018

Image: Angelica Mesiti, Rapture (silent anthem), 2009, Single-channel video, colour. 10 minutes, 10 seconds. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.People Like Us captures universal aspects of the contemporary human condition in film, animation, digital and interactive art. In a diverse collection of recent new media works by Australian and international practitioners, the exhibition also reveals the many experimental technologies being deployed by artists as they comment on issues confronting us in the 21st century.

Image Galleries


A National Exhibitions Touring Support Australia exhibition developed by UNSW Galleries and toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW. The National Touring Initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its principal arts funding body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

People Like Us Exhibition 2018

Exhibitions 2018

Colin Holt: a survey 2017-2018

19 October 2017 - 17 February 2018

Colin Holt: a survey exhibition


Exhibition catalogue available from the CDU Art Gallery

Image Galleries

Exhibitions 2017

Salon des Refusés 2017

10 August – 30 September

Salon16Celebrating five years of the Salon des Refusés, and its second year hosted by CDU Art Gallery.

Presented by Paul Johnstone Gallery and Outstation – art from art centres, the Salon des Refusés has gone from strength to strength and is now firmly established as a key cultural addition to Darwin’s Dry Season activities.

Salon17 presented by CDU Art Gallery, Outstation and Paul Johnstone

The Sculptures of Atauro Island

16 March - 15 July

<strong><i>Ancestor bust, Lepu-Hmoru</strong></i> (detail)<br/>José da Costa<br/>Hhua le’en ceremonial house, Luliopon, Maquili, Atauro Island, Timor-Leste<br/>Mid-20th century<br/>Wood, Australian red cedar (Toona ciliate), lero (AD), ai saria (T)<br/> 127 H x 11 W x 13.5 D cm<br/>National Collection of Timor-Leste, NCTL00745The Sculptures of Atauro Island presents the unique and captivating sculptural tradition from this remote island that lies across the Wetar Strait from Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital city.

This exhibition explores continuity and change in the wood-carving and sculptural traditions of Atauro Island. Despite the island’s turbulent history, wood-carving skills continue to flourish on Atauro Island. Today, sculptors create distinctive and innovative, contemporary figures that build on earlier, classic sculptural forms specific to their island.

The Sculptures of Atauro Island presents both contemporary and historical sculptures including ancestor figures, sea creatures such as mermaids, fish and crocodiles, as well as masks, shields and ceremonial spoons. This exhibition feature sculptures from the:

  • National Collection of Timor-Leste, Dili
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • Charles Darwin University Art Collection, Darwin
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • Private collection of Maria do Céu Lopes da Silva
  • Private collection of Michael Abbott AO QC

A short film documenting the process of sculpting, featuring master sculptor Antonio Soares, is presented in The Sculptures of Atauro Island.

Other films presented elucidate aspects of the lifestyle of the Atauroan people are:

  • Wawata Topu – Mermaids of Timor-Leste, a film by David Palazón and Enrique Alonso and
  • Ro’o Putin Hatin- Putin’s Boat, a film by Victor de Sousa.


The Sculptures of Atauro Island by Joanna Barrkman catalogueThe Sculptures of Atauro Island, by Joanna Barrkman

Charles Darwin University Art Gallery has published a catalogue to accompany The Sculptures of Atauro Island exhibition, with the generous assistance of the Gordon Darling Foundation. This catalogue documents the sculptural traditions of Atauro Island and the influences that have contributed to contemporary sculptural expressions. In addition to the works displayed in the exhibition, sculptures from the following cultural institutions also feature in the publication: Asian Civilization Museum, Singapore; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Art Museum, New York, Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris; and the Wallace Collection, Singapore.

The catalogue is available from Charles Darwin University Art Collection and Art Gallery, $25. Contact to purchase your copy.

  • Public programs

Exhibition image gallery

Read articles

Read more: Off The Leash magazine exhibition feature (PDF 473KB)

Read more: Artlink review by Paul Johnstone

Exhibitions 2016

Our feathered friends... the art of birds, 2016-2017

Our feathered friends... the art of birds exhibition

13 October, 2016 - 25 February, 2017.

Our feathered friends… the art of birds celebrates the diversity of Australian birdlife through the lens of artists’ depictions.

The exhibition, Our feathered friends… the art of birds, is presented by the Charles Darwin University Art Collection and Art Gallery. It celebrates the diversity of Australian birdlife through the lens of artists’ depictions of our feathered friends.

Our feathered friends… the art of birds profiles creative interpretations of bird species, by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists that illustrate the significant relationship between people and birds in Central Australia and the Top End. Innately, the exhibition reflects the regions’ abundant and diverse birdlife.

To reinforce with visitors the vulnerability of endangered bird species in the Top End, local artist Chips Mackinolty has created a rendition of the endangered Yellow Chat sub-species, (Epthianura crocea tunneyi) whose habitats in the Northern Territory include the East Alligator River and Adelaide River floodplains. A current PhD candidate at CDU seeks to investigate the habitat management plans that may foster improved conditions to assist the survival of this creature.

Salon de Refusés, 2016

Salon de Refusés, 2016 4 August – 30 September 2016.4 August – 30 September 2016.

The Salon des Refusés, a companion exhibition to the prestigious National and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA), showcases artworks that are submitted but not accepted into NATSIAA.

This year is the first time the exhibition is hosted by the CDU Art Gallery. It is being presented by Paul Johnstone Gallery and Outstation – art from art centres.

The Salon des Refusés is generally an exhibition of works rejected by the jury of official awards but it is most famously used to refer to the Salon des Refusés of 1863, which was sponsored by the French Government and saw artists protesting the Salon jury’s rejection of more than 3000 works, far more than usual.

“Wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints,” said an official notice, Emperor Napoléon III decreed that the rejected artists could exhibit their works in an annex to the regular Salon.

Balnhdhurr - A Lasting Impression

<i> Lightning and The Rock</i><br/>Nonggirrnga Marawili<br/>2014<br/>Photographic screenprint<br/>59 x 25cm

Thursday 12 May - Saturday 16 July 2016

Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression celebrates 20 years of onsite print production at Yirrkala Print Space in the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Northeast Arnhem Land. This exhibition showcases the Yolngu respect for clan and country, with many prints relating to the creation stories and Law as passed on by ancestors, highlighting the importance of kinship and family.

Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression takes the viewer on a visual journey, creating a platform for meaningful dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous. It is a coming together of cultures and time, where audiences have the chance to learn of the Yolngu’s strong tradition in artwork and how their skills, talent and creativity have translated to printmaking. This exhibition provides printmakers with the opportunity to actively share their stories through art and for the accomplishments of a sustainable, functional and thriving print studio operating in an incredibly isolated landscape to be recognised and applauded.

A display from the CDU Art Collection of the Revolution suite of 20 limited edition prints will complement this exhibition. Revolution commemorates 20 years of print production at Yirrkala Print Space 2015.

Balnhdhurr logo set

Print@CDU: printmaker's perspective

Saturday 27 February - Friday 22 April 2016

CDU Art Gallery explores the diverse printmaking techniques used by artists and printmakers in the creation of limited edition prints.

Artists include Brook Andrew, Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Dion Beasley, G.W. Bot, Rob Brown, Johnny Bulunbulun, Djambu Burra Burra, Jan Billycan, Jazmina Cininas, Timothy Cook, Dian Darmansjah, John Dent, Wayne Eager, Janenne Eaton, Rona Green, Franck Gohier, Chayni Henry, Lily Karadada, Mikael Kihlman, Martin King, Alun Leach-Jones, Marco Luccio, Chips Mackinolty, Bea Maddock, Yuan Mor'o Ocampo, Therese Ritchie, Jörg Schmeisser, Tony Stewart, Gloria Tamerre Petyarre, Freddie Timms, Conrad Tipungwuti, Guy Warren, Judy Watson, Deborah Williams and Ding Yi.This exhibition is in celebration of 50 years of the Print Council of Australia.

Exhibitions 2015

Marina Strocchi: a survey, 1991-2015

Marina strocchi, <em>Brancusi Palms</em>, 2003<br/>Acrylic on paper, 75 x 56.5cm, Acquired through the CDU Foundation Art Acquisition Fund, 2010, CDU Art Collection - CDU1852

Thursday 12 November 2015 - Friday 19 February 2016

This survey exhibition is a gaze into the wondrous art of Marina Strocchi and her musings on life in the Red Centre and Top End, and other places in between.

The art of Marina Strocchi propels us on a journey of the Northern Territory. Her paintings and prints are laden with iconic motifs of jabiru,fish, windmills, buffalo, feral cats, mangroves and mulga. Renditions that trace human activity, such as mining, travelling tracks, windmills and implements of industry, indicate the post-colonial additions to the Territory landscape.

The accompanying publication Marina Strocchi: a survey is available at the CDU Art Gallery for $25

Warlpiri Drawings: remembering the future

6 August - 23 October 2015

<strong>Jerry Jangala Patrick </strong><br/><i>Yawaki (Bush Plum) Dreaming </i><br/> Lajamanu, Northern Territory <br/>Warlpiri Drawings Collection, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Warlpiri Drawings -Remembering the Future tells the story of an intriguing collection of Indigenous artworks created by Warlpiri people from Lajamanu and Yuendumu in the 1950s and beyond. It explores how drawing has been used to make sense of 80 years of monumental change, to picture life in the present and look hopefully towards the future.

The artists' subjects range from drawings of country and dreamings to historical moments such as the "Killing Times" at Coniston in 1928 – a massacre that occurred within living memory of the oldest generation of Warlpiri men and women.

At the same time that the Warlpiri were acquiring a European-style education, they were also learning different ways to depict their world. David Tunley, a manual arts teacher at Yuendemu in the late-1960s, recalled in his later years that when it came to picture-making, his students 'required no teaching'.

This exhibition was curated for the National Museum of Australia by Dr Melinda Hinkson, Australian National University, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation and Warnayaka Art and Cultural Aboriginal Corporation, Mrs Joan Meggitt, Pintupi Anmatyerre Warlpiri Media Association, and the assistance of the traditional owners and community members of Yuendumu and Lajamanu. Warlpiri Drawings is proudly presented by Darwin Festival 2015.

Warlpiri Drawings was a travelling exhibition presented by the National Museum of Australia.

Find out more at The National Museum of Australia.
View the photo gallery of curator floortalk by Dr Melinda Hinkson and members of the Warlpiri community.

CDU Art Collection receives a gift of 99 prints

<br/><strong>Gloria Petyarre</strong><br/><i>Untitled</i> 1990<br/>Wood block print on paper, Edn 9/30<br/>30 x 45cm [image]; 38 x 52.5cm [paper]<br/>Gifted through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Christopher Hodges and Helen Eager, 2015<br/>CDU Art Collection: CDU2818

7 July - 10 July 2015

The CDU Art Gallery received 99 prints gifted by Ms Helen Eager and Mr Christopher Hodges, Sydney. The gift consists of the following works of art:

  • 72 woodblock prints on paper; The Utopia Suite 1990, created by 70 artists form Utopia, Northern Territory
  • 23 screen prints, woodblock prints and paintings on paper created by artists from Utopia, Kintore and Alice Springs, Northern Territory
  • 4 works on paper by artists Helen Eager and Christopher Hodges, Sydney, New South Wales.

This gift of 99 works of art was made through the Cultural Gifts Program of the Australian Government.

Neridah Stockley: a retrospective

13 November 2014 - 20 February 2015

<i>Early morning creek bed</i> 2011, acrylic and gouache on Canson paper. 32.1 x 31.9cm [image]; 33.9 x 33.8cm [paper]. Charles Darwin University Art Collection – CDU2706. Acquired through the CDU Foundation Art Acquisition Fund, 2014

Whilst a number of male writers have traced the desert as their fictional literary dominion in recent years, a number of women artists based in Alice Springs – of whom Neridah Stockley is a contemporary exemplar – are painting it as they see and experience it. A graduate of the National Art School, East Sydney, Stockley relocated from NSW in 2001, initially to Darwin and then Alice Springs – her home and 'base camp' for extensive painting expeditions for more than a decade.

Her commitment to painting landscape en plein air – a genre rarely broached in such a pure, unselfconscious way by non-Indigenous artists residing in the Northern Territory – is predominantly on a small scale, challenging the overriding assumption that a 'big country' requires 'big pictures' – or for that matter, big stories. This is Stockley's first major retrospective exhibition and features an extensive body of paintings, drawings, collages and prints by a celebrated Central Australian artist known fondly as the 'Clarice Beckett of Alice Springs'.

Yirrkala Drawings

7 August - 3 October 2014

Mawalan marika, <i>Macassan swords and long knives</i> 1947, lumber crayon & graphite on butchers paper, 92 x 58cm. Ronald M. & Catherine H. Berndt Collection, Berndt Museum of Anthropology, UWA. © Estate of the Artist. WU7164

In 1947, 27 senior ceremonial leaders at Yirrkala in northeast Arnhem Land produced 365 vibrant crayon drawings on butchers paper for the anthropologists Ronald and Catherine Berndt. Yirrkala Drawingsfeatures a comprehensive selection of 81 of these culturally and artistically significant works, returning to the Northern Territory as one ensemble for the first time in 67 years.

This Art Gallery of NSW touring exhibition in partnership with Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre, Yirrkala and the Berndt Museum at the University of Western Australia, Perth, is presented by the CDU Art Gallery in association with Darwin Festival and is supported by the Northern Territory Government and Festivals NT.

An online resource featuring background information, learning guide and interviews can be viewed at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Made to last: the conservation of art

10 April - 27 June 2014

Ghostpatrol, <i>tadaima swan</i> 2012, Acrylic and oil pastel on linen. Image courtesy the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide

A NETS Victoria exhibition in partnership with the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne and supported by Latrobe Regional Gallery

Contemporary artists use traditional, modern and sometimes unconventional materials for a variety of reasons; the materials are integral to their conceptual practice, workable or readily available. Made to last: the conservation of art highlights the significance of the artist's original intent to assist in the long term preservation of their work, providing a 'behind the scenes' insight into their practice. This exhibition, curated by Sherryn Vardy, explores investigative methods of conservation including the behaviour of materials over time and techniques used to preserve and document work for the future.A comprehensive online resource featuring background information, learning guide and interviews can be viewed at

The exhibition Made to last: the conservation of art is supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria.

NETS VictoriaArts VictoriaLatrobe Regional GalleryMelbourne University



Gordon Darling FoundationIAS Fine Art LogisticsExhibition Development Fund

Jean baptiste apuatimi, <i>Tarpauline </i> 2010, Japanese-style woodblock, printed with natural ochres, WP edn 20; 39 x 23.7cm [image]; 47 x 31.9cm [paper]. Collaborators: Jacqueline Gribbin & Karlissa Kennedy; Printer: Jacqueline Gribbin. CDU Art Collection - CDU1918. Gifted by the artist & Northern Editions Printmaking Studio, 2010. Image © the artist's estate & courtesy Tiwi Design, Bathurst Island, NT

IN PRINT 20/20: Celebrating 20 years of prints & printmaking

Charles Darwin University Art Collection & Northern Editions Printmaking Studio

14 November 2013 - 21 February 2014

Established in 1980, the CDU Art Collection is substantively a works on paper collection. Approximately 50 percent of its holdings comprise Workshop Proofs of limited edition prints (including etchings, drypoints, lithographs, screenprints and woodcuts), gifted by artist-printmakers and the University's printmaking studio since 1993. A survey exhibition of 167 prints from the Collection, entitled In Print, highlighting the first two phases of the University printmaking studio's evolution, was mounted in 2010.

Drawn from the CDU Art Collection's permanent holdings, In Print 20/20 marks the 20th anniversary of Northern Editions Printmaking Studio and its predecessor printmaking workshops: the NTU Print Workshop (1993-96) and Northern Editions Printmaking Workshop (1997-2001). It celebrates two decades of prints and printmaking at Charles Darwin University.
As a "sequel survey" exhibition, In Print 20/20 will focus on works dating from approximately 2000 to the present, featuring the third (2002-2008) and fourth (2009-2013) phases of printmaking at Charles Darwin University. Significant developments during this period include: the introduction of water-based, Japanese style woodblock printing (suisai moku hanga), the production of prints in hand-bound book form and the creation of 3D hand-sewn printed multiples or sculptures.

In Print 20/20 demonstrates the University's engagement with the creative and cultural life of Northern Australia and adjoining regions through the graphic medium. It acknowledges the valuable contribution made by University print workshop managers, collaborating and editioning printers and visiting or resident artists to the history of prints and printmaking in the region and beyond.

Luminous World: contemporary art from the Wesfarmers Collection

8 August - 4 October 2013

Wesfarmers University Art Museums Australia Art Gallery of Western Australia Darwin Festival

Common Ground: Batchelor Institute & Charles Darwin University Art Collections

18 April - 28 June 2013

Nyuju stumpy brown, <i>Juntu Juntu</i> 1992, Acrylic paint on paper, 56 x 76cm. Image © the artist's estate &amp; courtesy Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency. Batchelor Institute Art Collection, BCAC00764. Photography: Fiona Morrison

To mark the launch of the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education on Casuarina campus, Common Ground presents, for the first time, a joint exhibition in the CDU Art Gallery comprising more than 100 works of art by North Australian Indigenous artists, drawn from the permanent collections of Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Charles Darwin University (CDU).

The exhibition comprises 56 paintings on linen/canvas and works on paper, wood and canvas board, from the Batchelor Institute Art Collection, dating principally from the early 1990s, when the Artists-in-Residence Program and the Collection were initiated.

Works by Indigenous artists from Ngukurr, Lajamanu, the Daly River region (including Peppimenarti) and Borroloola (NT), as well as Fitzroy Crossing (WA), are represented. They are complemented by 50 works from the CDU Art Collection, chiefly limited edition prints, created by the same artists or those from the same regions and communities.

Highlighting the significant role that visual art plays in the cultural life and livelihood of Indigenous Australians, and its capacity to deliver "both ways" education within tertiary institutions of learning, the exhibition connects two of the Northern Territory's important collections of art in the CDU Art Gallery, where they meet for the first time on "common ground".

Roads Cross

roads cross: contemporary directions in Australian art

21 November 2012 - 22 February 2013

Since the late 20th century, opportunities to engage with Australian Aboriginal art, its makers and their communities, have increasingly informed Western approaches to art making.  roads cross explores how this development has left traces and echoes in recent Australian art through the work of sixteen non-Indigenous artists.  Four Indigenous artists are represented as co-creators of selected works, and those of a fifth – the late Rover Thomas (Joolama) – provide the exhibition with its title: its visual and art historical points of departure.  The exhibition comprises two and three-dimensional media, including  painting, collage, photography, printmaking, textile construction, ceramics, found-object installation and sculpture.


Flinders University Art Museum & City Gallery
29 June - 26 August 2012

Charles Darwin University Art Gallery
21 November 2012 - 22 February 2013

Araluen Arts Centre
16 November 2013 - 2 March 2014

Flinders UniversityVisions of Australia

Images of the Interior: Seven Central Australian Photographers

8 August - 5 October 2012

Images of the interior

The 84 images in this exhibition, drawn entirely from the South Australian Museum's collections, reveal the fragile environment and frontier society of Central Australia during the half-century from the 1890s to the 1940s.

During this time, the theme of the 'bush' emerged as a formative element in a new Australian identity. Assumptions about the Centralian frontier and its people – black and white – hardened into enduring stereotypes that to this day 'colour' our general perceptions. Images of the Interior takes us behind and beyond those stereotypes, to the reality of the frontier itself.

The exhibition's images – all but three in black and white – were captured by seven men whose close contact with Central Australia gave them particular insights: Francis J. Gillen, Samuel Albert White, William Delano Walker, George Aiston, Cecil Hackett, Ernest Kramer and Rex Battarbee.

Some of these original, hand-printed photographs are beautiful, some confronting, some fascinating and some humorous. The three colour images in the exhibition mark the shift to mass tourism and colour photography in Central Australia.   

The exhibition is enhanced by a range of archival material and historical objects (also from the SA Museum's holdings) relating to the photographers' lives and work.  A comprehensive and lavishly illustrated book (161pp), by Exhibition Guest Curator, Dr Philip Jones, South Australian Museum, accompanies exhibition.

Government of South AustraliaDarwin Festival

LOOK: Learning to LOOK at art in the CDU Art Collection

29 February - 6 July 2012

LOOK featured a selection of more than 70 works drawn from the CDU Art Collection in a range of media – including paintings, limited edition prints, photographs, digital collage and three-dimensional objects.  They were assembled to encourage the viewer to search for meaning and seek pleasure in a visual way: to experience art through uninhibited observation rather than verbalised narrative.

Kenneth Clark observed that looking at art 'requires active participation, and, in the early stages, a certain amount of discipline'.  LOOK was more than a retinal exercise: by comparing and contrasting work by individual artists and communities in the region, the exhibition revealed enduring relationships and experiences through the Collection between people and place. Seen in this light, contemporary and historical works evince an on-going artistic engagement with Northern Australia – through residence, travel and the imagination.

Helping one another exhibition

Ngaruwanajirri: helping one another

10 August - 7 October 2011

Ngaruwanajirri: helping one another featured 199 works by 17 Tiwi artists who work as a co-operative at The Keeping House at Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu) on Bathurst Island.  Established in 1994, Ngaruwanajirri Inc represents a core group of 14 artists and 12 freelance carvers.

The exhibition included a range of paintings in ochre on paper and canvas/linen, watercolour and acrylic paintings, ironwood carvings, sculptures, hand-crafted objects and batik silks. This was Ngaruwanajirri Inc's first major retrospective exhibition and marked the launch of a special suite of 48 monotypes/monoprints, created with collaborating printer Marilyn Gibson in 2010.

The Nature of Things

The Nature of Things: featuring works by Carole Wilson

14 April - 24 June 2011

The Nature of Things looked closely at the natural and cultural environment of Northern Australia, featuring as its centrepiece a selected survey of 24 works (2006-2010) by former CDU Lecturer in Studio Practice and Postgraduate Coordinator (Visual Art), Dr Carole Wilson. The exhibition included stencilled and hand-cut map-based collage and patterned Axminster carpet installations, most never exhibited before in the Northern Territory, as well as the Mrs Darwin's Garden series, inspired by her two-year residency in the Top End.

In response to Wilson's art, a range of more than 100 works in various media (predominantly paper), drawn from the University's permanent collection, by North Australian Indigenous, non-Indigenous and Southeast Asian artists, was exhibited.  They captured ideas and experiences of nature, gardens, landscape and the botanical wonders of our region.

Marina strocchi, <i>Brancusi Palm</i> 2007, etching, edn 20 (Workshop Proof), 29.5 x 9.5cm [image], Image © the artist, gifted by the artist and Northern Editions Printmaking Studio 2007, CDU1609

In Print: Charles Darwin University Art Collection

4 November 2010 - 25 February 2011

Drawn from CDU's permanent collection of art, In Print highlighted the power and beauty of graphic art by Indigenous, non-Indigenous and Southeast Asian artists working in, or inspired by Northern Australia. 

The exhibition comprised 167 works – including lithographs, etchings, drypoints and screenprints – by artists who have worked under the auspices of CDU's various printmaking workshops, studios and enterprises from 1993 to the present.  It acknowledged the contribution of CDU-educated and employed print workshop managers, collaborators and editioning printers to the history of prints and printmaking in the region. Venturing across the Far North's cities and townships, to some of its most remote communities, the exhibition drew together a 17-year history of CDU's principal visual art and printmaking entities: the University Art Collection, the Art School (NTU Print Workshop, 1993-96; Northern Editions Printmaking Workshop, 1997-2002) and today's Northern Editions printmaking studio. 

In Print traced on paper – through colour, line and form – the evolution of the medium as a uniquely North Australian phenomenon.

Not dead yet image by Therse Ritchie

NOT DEAD YET: Therese Ritchie & Chips Mackinolty - a retrospective

11 August - 30 September 2010

The CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery launched a landmark retrospective exhibition for the Northern Territory on Wednesday 11 August: a survey show of 160 art works by Darwin-based artists Therese Ritchie and Chips Mackinolty.

Curated by CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery Curator Anita Angel, Not Dead Yet featured a comprehensive range of screenprints, posters, drawings, photographs, digital collage works and limited edition fine art prints and paintings, dating from 1969 (Mackinolty) and 1988 (Ritchie), through to the present day.


Albury Art Gallery
9 February - 31 March 2013

Flinders University Art Museum & City Gallery
4 May - 14 July 2013

Canberra Museum & Art Gallery
5 July - 14 September 2014

Nyini parlingari purrupakuluwunyi, amintiya kiyi nyingani awarra Jilamara (Looking back, looking forward in our Art)

Nyini parlingari purrupakuluwunyi, amintiya kiyi nyingani awarra Jilamara: Looking back, looking forward in our Art

22 April - 30 June 2010

The launch of the CDU Art Gallery coincided with the opening of this exhibition, danced opened by Tiwi Design artists Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Maria Josette Orsto, Romolo Tipiloura and Gordon Pupangumirri.

The Art Gallery was officially opened by His Hon the Administrator of the NT, Mr Tom Pauling AO QC and the Hon Gerry McCarthy MLA, Minister for Arts and Museums, on the evening of Thursday April 22, 2010.

The event celebrated the University Art Collection's and Tiwi Design Aboriginal Corporation's 30th anniversaries. Looking back, looking forward in our Art displays more than 190 art works including paintings on paper, linen, canvas, limited edition prints, carvings, sculptures, tunga, spears and fighting sticks, drawn from the Tiwi Design Collection and the Charles Darwin University Art Collection.



9 November 2009

The Art Collection's first exhibition in the CDU Art Gallery, entitled Prelude, marked the official opening of the Chancellery building on November 9, 2009.Prelude comprised 63 works drawn from the CDU Art Collection's permanent holdings.

Bitumen & Dirt Wayne Eager, 30 years in the Territory

  • Download the Bitumen & Dirt exhibition room brochure here (1.25MB, pdf.)
  • Check out the photo gallery of the opening night here.

Public Program

Saturday 24 October at 11am

Join us at the CDU Art Gallery with Alice Springs-based artist Wayne Eager and Acting Curator Kellie Joswig in discussing Eager's survey exhibition 'Bitumen & Dirt - Wayne Eager, 30 years in the Territory'

Salon 2020 poster

Read the CDU media release here.
Download the exhibition catalogue here (8.76MB, pdf).
See the installation images here.

PLACE celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Charles Darwin University Art Gallery and its reopening following a forced COVID-19 closure. The exhibition features 40 works acquired for the CDU Art Collection over the past 10 years, each speaking to the concept of ‘Place’ in different ways. 

Place poster

CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery

Building Orange 12.1.02
Casuarina campus
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Gallery opening hours:
Wed-Fri, 10am-4pm
Sat, 10am

Dr Joanna Barrkman

Eileen Lim
Exhibitions & Collection Officer

T: 08 8946 6621

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