The University Gallery

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Digital exhibition

Jess Kellar, Heart it Races 2020

Thinking in Pictures aims to visualise the female phenotype of autism spectrum disorder through creative practice. Coinciding with World Autism Day on 2 April, the exhibition seeks to defy myths and stereotypes and bring awareness to the often complex and camouflaged female presentation of ASD. In translating the invisible to visible - whilst promoting the creativity not often associated with being on the spectrum - the exhibition showcases vivid and expressive abstract paintings, detailed drawings, and experimental works, highlighting the rich inner world and workings of a different mind.

Thinking in Pictures is driven by the honours research project of contemporary artist, Jessica Kellar, who has also curated into the exhibition work from Natural History Illustrator, Jemma Gillard, along with a diverse array of female creatives on the spectrum from the University of Newcastle, Aspect Hunter School, and beyond.

Jess Kellar talks about her practice and exhibition ‘Thinking in Pictures’ in this video.

World Autism Awareness Day 2 April 2020 - TBC

Image: Jess Kellar, Heart It Races 2020, mixed media on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm (detail)


The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and visitors is our top priority and in accordance with the latest Government advice regarding COVID-19, some student and community events have been cancelled or postponed.

The exhibition and events schedule for the University Gallery is under revision. We will advise of any further updates or changes as they are made. Thank you for your understanding.

Reconciliation Cloak 2019

Reconciliation Cloak 2019

To celebrate National Reconciliation Week 27 May – 3 June and this year’s theme of In this Together, we revisit a wonderful project from 2019 that brought together participants from the University of Newcastle’s Department of Rural Health (UONDRH) the University Gallery interns, staff, students and visitors to contribute to the creation of a kangaroo skin cloak.

Artist and researcher Simon Munro led a series of workshops to learn the process of making the cloak alongside colleagues from UONDRH involved in the Yearning to Yarn research project. The cloak was made as a community event to cut, tap and sew and to discuss culture and stories through yarning.

Knowledge of the cloak was drawn from Simon Munro’s own experience and cultural heritage (Anaiwan people of New England tablelands of NSW), where historically cloaks were used not only for warmth and shelter but also for ceremonies. Simon sees the cloak as just one personal representation from the diverse nations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture.

Yearning to Yarn documented responses from Aboriginal students who overwhelmingly wanted to have greater recognition and representation of their culture in the higher education landscape. The research was supported by the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education Excellence in Teaching for Equity in Higher Education program and you can find the research here.

The University Art Collection acknowledges and thanks Simon Munro for this extraordinary gift and thanks all the participants associated with the creation of the cloak.

The Reconciliation Cloak is on display in the east wing of the Chancellery at the entry to the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Leadership on Callaghan Campus.

For more information on how you can view or donate to the University of Newcastle Art Collection, or if you have any enquiries about the Art Collection, contact the University Gallery.

E: P: +61 2 4925 4910

Image: Simon Munro Reconciliation Cloak 2019 (detail), Kangaroo skin and twine
Donated to the University Art Collection by Simon Munro

The University Gallery presents curated exhibitions and touring shows that facilitate an awareness of contemporary art, artists, communities and disciplines. We also support and promote local and emerging artists through our exhibition program and present research exhibitions by our postgraduate candidates at the University of Newcastle.

We value community engagement and welcome the public to engage with our many exhibition openings and public programs throughout the year. See sign up tab to your right for event updates.

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