Red Heart of Australia

The exhibition Opening was held on Thursday 15 June 2023

The Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture (IAC) at Western Sydney University is honoured and thrilled to present this very special exhibition Red Heart of Australia from the National Museum of Australia at our art space on Parramatta South campus as the first venue of a national tour from 1 June to 28 July 2023.

Red Heart of Australia is an exhibition of eight paintings, created by Aboriginal artists from across central Australia and selected from the National Museum of Australia’s collection. It had its inaugural exhibition at the National Art Museum of China from 31 July to 2 December 2021.

In the words of Dr Margo Ngawa Neale, the Head of the National Museum of Australia Indigenous Knowledges Centre and Senior Indigenous Curator, “These paintings are a visual tethering to the red heart of Australia and the huge monolith called Uluru. The Aboriginal Australian artists who created them use the colour red to express their relationships to Country, family, blood lines, ritual and spirituality.

“Aboriginal artists today relay ancient knowledges using cutting-edge technologies and modern mediums. What started as ephemeral drawings in the earth, on rock walls and on the human body in ceremony can be seen here adapted to permanent works on canvas, chosen not only for the knowledge they contain but also for their intricacy, power and beauty”.

Red symbolises the blood of the sacred Ancestors and of family lines that reach across the centuries, connecting the ancient to the contemporary. Aboriginal Australians are part of the oldest continuing culture on earth and have lived on the Australian continent for over 60,000 years.

Red Heart of Australia at IAC will be opened by Professor Michelle Trudgett, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Leadership at Western Sydney University and Rauny Worm, Head of Visitor Experience National Museum of Australia in Canberra. At the Opening, there will also be a musical performance by Ethan Teuma and Band. Ethan Teuma, from the Bundjalung nation, is a music student at Western Sydney University. Inspired by his studies in World Music, he has developed an interest in exploring new soundscapes with his didgeridoo skills and will perform a new work featuring the didgeridoo accompanied by his band members.

IAC would also like to take this opportunity to promote The Protocols for Using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts published by the Australia Council for the Arts. The Protocols provide a pathway for collaborations and creation of new Indigenous work. IAC has proudly produced the translation of the Chinese version of The Protocols through the commission of the Australia Council. You can download a copy of Chinese version HERE and English version HERE. (Expanding Readings: SBS Chinese Channel - "Engaging in Indigenous Voices Discussion? Beware! These Offensive Chinese Expressions Could Do More Harm than Good" - Professor Jing Han emphasizes the importance of accuracy when expressing Indigenous perspectives.)

This exhibition will give our students, staff and general public the opportunity to view and enjoy these magnificent Indigenous paintings and celebrate the 2023 NAIDOC Week. Western Sydney University as an education institution shares with the Australian community the cultures, languages, history and contemporary experiences of Australia’s Indigenous people and is committed to Indigenous education, research and engagement. Knowing and understanding Indigenous history and culture through Indigenous art is empowering and powerful.

Exhibition Details

1 June to 28 July 2023

Venue: Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture Gallery, Ground Floor, Building EA, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University. 171 Victoria Road, Parramatta.

Gallery Opening Hours: Monday – Friday (9.30 am – 5.00 pm)

Contact: Lindsay Liu email:

Watch the video explaining the symbolism of some of the works on show in Red Heart of Australia.


Nicholas Howie (Welcome to Country) is a proud Dharug man from the Boorooberongal Clan (Richmond basin area) and is currently in his second year on his path to becoming a High School Physics teacher here at Western Sydney University. He has always had a love for teaching and learning with others, and currently works as a School Learning Support Officer at a High School in the Lower Mountains. From a very young age, Nicholas learned that your knowledge is only as good as your ability to  share it  with others”, and he seeks to apply this to every aspect of his life. Nicholas believes that our society will not advance if understanding and knowledge is hoarded by a select few. He advocates that knowledge should be tossed about with reckless abandon so our experiences and understanding is broadened  by as many diverse perspectives as possible.Nicholas Howie 

Professor Michelle Trudgett is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Western Sydney University. Prior to this role she held the position Pro Vice-Chancellor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Strategy and Consultation at Western Sydney University.  She is an eminent higher education leader who has also held senior positions at the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University.  Professor Trudgett’s significant contributions to the sector have been recognised through several awards including the highly prestigious National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award, the Neville Bonner Award for Teaching Excellence, and the University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award.

Professor Trudgett currently serves as the Chair of the Universities Australia Deputy/Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Committee. She has also provided leadership to the Australian Research Council as the Chair of the Indigenous committee that advised on the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and the Engagement and Impact (EI)Review. She is also proud to serve as a Board Member on the GO Foundation.

Professor Trudgett has been a Chief Investigator (CI) on four Australian Research Council grants, three as the lead CI, which equate to $4,189,000 in funding. She has developed an international reputation as a leading Indigenous Australian scholar whose research provides considerable insight into Indigenous participation in higher education, with a specific focus on the postgraduate sector. Professor Trudgett is currently leading two ARC projects - one will reshape the way universities currently 'do business' with Indigenous Australians through focusing on Indigenous leadership and governance in higher education, whilst the other investigates how the sector can best support and develop Indigenous early career researchers.

Professor Trudgett is a recognised strategic thinker who adopts a highly collegial approach to achieve positive outcomes for the higher education sector. She is particularly passionate about leading strategic initiatives that empower Indigenous people and communities.

Michelle Trudgett

Rauny Worm is the Head of Visitor Experience at the National Museum of Australia (NMA). She has extensive senior management experience across the Canberra region, over the past two decades, having led diverse teams; implemented significant change in arts, government and community settings; and delivered high quality visitor experiences. Most recently, as the CEO & Artistic Director, Tuggeranong Arts Centre, for the past eight years (2013-21), Rauny has successfully built the reputation, services and community presence of the Arts Centre.

During the Centenary of Canberra, as Program Manager, Education, Children & Youth (2011-13), Rauny worked to support Artistic Director, Robyn Archer, in the successful program delivery for children and young people.

During her first years in Australia, she had the privilege of working on country for First Nations women, children & young people in the Western Desert and Pilbara region of WA, coordinating a range of community programs.

Rauny Worm

Ethan Teuma is from the Bundjalung nation from northeast NSW (near Lismore). Inspired by his studies in World Music at Kingswood Campus, he has developed an interest in exploring new soundscapes with his didgeridoo skills and will perform a new work with this band members featuring the didgeridoo.Ethan Teuma

# Opening is supported by TWT.