Contemporary art provides a creative platform for audiences to interpret and debate the diversity of life and culture.

Murdoch University's Art Gallery showcases the most exciting developments in Australian contemporary art to our community through its exhibition program. Exhibitions are held throughout the year and highlight various themes and features of the collection.

Current exhibition

An Enduring Exuberance: Murdoch University’s Art Collection Turns 50

March 2024 – January 2025

Presented by Murdoch University Art Collection at the Parliament of Western Australia’s Edith Cowan Gallery.

In 2024, Murdoch University celebrates two significant historical milestones; the fiftieth anniversary of the University’s foundation and the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the University’s nationally acclaimed Art Collection. Since its foundation as Western Australia’s second university in 1974, Murdoch University has been associated with encouraging creative thinking and new perspectives, the environment, conservation and sustainability, respect for First Nations people and their culture, as well as social justice, diversity, and inclusion for all. These values have shaped many of the Collection’s artwork acquisitions from the 1970s until the present day. An Enduring Exuberance traces the evolution and reflects on the multiplicity of Murdoch University’s Art Collection through the lens of 26 artworks, acquired over the five decades. Each of these artworks signifies key Collection themes and features that have emerged during this period and present a visual manifestation of the University’s founding values. 

Artwork by SMITH Gemma, Arrow Painting, 2021
Gemma SMITH, Arrow Painting, 2021. Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 139 x 119.5cm. Purchased in 2021 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Murdoch University Art Collection.

First look: new acquisitions

Opening 11 November 2023

This exhibition celebrates new artworks acquired by Murdoch University Art Collection through the GOLD HORIZON campaign. Launched in 2021, the GOLD HORIZON campaign aims to acquire exceptional artworks by purchase, commission and donation to commemorate the Collection’s 50th anniversary in 2024. First look showcases exciting recent acquisitions by contemporary Australian artists including Abdul Abdullah, Atong Atem, Jimmy Baker, Maringka Baker, Jacobus Capone, Naomi Hobson, The Huxleys, Beryl Jimmy, Sonia Kurarra, David Miller, Christopher Pease, Lance Peck, Reko Rennie, Brad Rimmer, Khashayar Salmanzadeh, Bernard Tjalkuri and Nyankulya Walyampari Watson.

Atong ATEM, I have two of everything 1, 2022. Ilford smooth pearl photographic print, 90 x 60cm. Purchased in 2022 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Murdoch University Art Collection in 2024.
Atong ATEM, I have two of everything 1, 2022. Ilford smooth pearl photographic print, 90 x 60cm. Purchased in 2022 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Murdoch University Art Collection in 2024.

Past exhibitions


October 2022 - September 2023

Murdoch University Art Gallery’s current exhibition is titled CHROMA. It takes its name from the Greek word chrôma, which refers to the purity, intensity or saturation of a colour. The exhibition features a selection of vibrant contemporary artworks from the Murdoch University Art Collection, which all explore colour in very different ways. From hard-edged abstract paintings to kaleidoscopic acrylic sculptures, lusciously painted Indigenous artworks to reflective mirror constructions, CHROMA celebrates the power of colour. Selected artists include Bob Brighton, Brian McKay, Consuelo Cavaniglia, Gemma Smith, Hilarie Mais, John Nixon, John Young, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Lesley Dumbrell, Paji Honeychild Yankarr, Robert Owen, Sonia Kurarra and Wakartu Cory Surprise.

John Young, Spectrumfigure XIV, 2018
John Young, Spectrumfigure XIV, 2018, oil paint on Belgian linen, 190cm x 150cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Moore Contemporary. © John Young 2022.


November 2021 – October 2022

Murdoch University Art Collection and our inaugural Patron Alan R. Dodge AM CitWA are embarking on an ambitious and exciting campaign titled GOLD HORIZON, which aims to acquire exceptional artworks by purchase and donation as we head towards the Collection’s 50th anniversary in 2024.

This exhibition presents the inaugural artworks acquired to commemorate the 50th anniversary, including significant works by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Amos Gebhardt, Bill Henson, Brendan van Hek, Brian McKay, Carol Rudyard, Jacobus Capone, Fred Grant, Ned Grant and Roy Underwood.

These works reflect the inspiring and transformative power of art, as well as the possibilities that can be achieved through acts of generosity and philanthropy.

Amos Gebhardt, Eric, 2020
Amos Gebhardt, Eric (detail), 2020. Archival inkjet pigment print on photographic paper, 94 x 246cm (framed). Purchased to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Murdoch University Art Collection in 2024 with funds provided by the Peter Mark Sarfaty Fund 2021.

Purnaya Ninganni Pangarri (yesterday – today – tomorrow)

November 2019 – October 2021

Purnaya Ninganni Pangarri: yesterday - today - tomorrow is an exhibition of Tiwi art featured in the Murdoch University Art Collection. This exhibition brings together a cross-generation of Tiwi artists, showcasing the evolution of Tiwi art from traditional to contemporary works over several decades.

Tiwi art and culture is unique to Bathurst and Melville Islands. Tiwi Islanders have practiced Jilimara (the art of body painting), Pukumani (funeral) and Kulama (initiation/yam) ceremonies for thousands of years with traditional forms of mark-making originally derived from creation stories.

A selection of exhibited artists includes: Kitty Kantilla, Jean Baptiste Apuatimi, Declan Apuatimi, Linus Warlapinni, Conrad Tipungwuti, Freda Warlapinni, Pedro Wonaeamirri, Marie Josette Orsto, Mary Magdalkene Tipungwuti and Timothy Cook.

Assorted works from the Tiwi exhibition
LEFT: Declan Apuatimi, Old Tiwi Woman, c1984. Natural earth pigments on carved wood. Purchased 2019. RIGHT: Artist unknown, Pukumani Pole, c1980. Natural earth pigments on carved wood. Donated by John Roberts, 1998.

PEEK: A Partial View of Murdoch University Art Collection

February 2020 – February 2021 (Parliament House, Harvest Terrace, West Perth)

Presented in partnership between Murdoch University and the Parliament of Western Australia.

The 56 works on display reveal the very essence of the Murdoch collection which serves as a reflection of contemporary Australian culture. One that celebrates multi-cultural, modern-day Australia, while acknowledging our history, our first peoples, our colonial past and the ongoing journey to define who we are, what we stand for, our spirit and national values. Many of the pieces challenge conventional thinking and invite conversation and discussion of our place as a nation. A narrative that mirrors the Murdoch mindset, with its rich history and tradition of encouraging the young to think differently, to challenge convention and established ways of thinking.

Read more about the exhibition

Artwork by Danie Mellor
Danie MELLOR, An Encounter With The Establishment, 2009. Mixed media on paper. 57.5 x 88 cm. Purchased 2011.

Murdoch Salon

November 2018 – October 2019

This exhibition features selected contemporary artworks from Murdoch University's Art Collection by artists: Consuelo Cavaniglia, Jurek Wybraniec, Brian Robinson, Caspar Fairhall, Gemma Smith, Brook Andrew, Bob Brighton, Mathew Allen, Dan McCabe, Coen Young, Hoda Afshar, Brent Harris and Karl Wiebke.

Artwork by Dan McCabe
Dan McCABE, Joiner Series (2 of 6 works), 2018. Acrylic sheets on Alubond, 87 x 62cm. Purchased 2018.

Contemporary Australian Photo Media

April – October 2018

A selection of compelling images, reflecting the diverse practices of some of Australia’s most notable emerging and established photo media artists. Contemporary photo media art is a significant theme within the collection. This exhibition provides a small glimpse of a substantial body of work acquired since 2006.

The exhibition features works by artists: Marian Drew, Brook Andrew, Petrina Hicks, Pat Brassington, Thea Costantino, Michael Riley, Jane Burton, David Rosetzky, Toni Wilkinson, Abdul Abdullah, Nathan Beard, Coen Young, Christian Thompson, Polixeni Papapetrou, Rosemary Lang.

Artwork by Christian Thompson
Christian THOMPSON, Black Gum, 2007. Lambda photographic print, 109.8 x 109.8 cm. Purchased 2017.

A Place for Art

November 2017 – March 2018

This exhibition marked the official launch of the new Murdoch University's Art Gallery. Showcasing significant recent acquisitions to the Collection, it heralds the beginning of an exciting new era for the Art Collection.

Featuring purchased and donated works by artists: Andrew Browne, Lena Nyadbi, Nathan Beard, Andrew Nicholls, Susanna Castleden, Brian Blanchflower, Coen Young, Christian Thompson.

Artwork by Andrew Browne
Andrew BROWNE, A Riverbank (culvert, detritus and apparitions), 2012. Oil on linen, 130 x 900 cm (triptych). Purchased 2017.
Photo: Eva Fernandez.

Bullargar Katitjin

July – October 2017

Bullargar Katitjin (learning together) celebrates the rich diversity of contemporary Australian Indigenous culture through a selection of artworks from Murdoch University's Art Collection. The exhibition encourages discussion and promotes cross-cultural awareness by showcasing indigenous urban-based and remote community-based artists of National significance.

Featuring work by artists: Maryanne Purlta Downs, Freddie Timms, Mabel Juli, Lena Nyadbi, Rammey Ramsey, Julie Dowling, Darren Siwes, Roma Nyutjangka Butler, Ryan Presley, Sandra Hill, Meeyakba Shane Pickett, Laurel Nannup, Christopher Pease, Ben Pushman, Lydia Balbal.

Artwork from Bullargar Katitjin exhibition
LEFT: Freddie Timms, Bedford Downs Country. Natural ochres and synthetic binder on Belgian linen, 150 x 360 cm (diptych). Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Dr Ian Constable AO and Dr Elizabeth Constable 2015. RIGHT: Mabel JULI, Garnkiny Ngarrangkarni 2010. Natural ochre and synthetic binder on canvas, 100 x 140 cm, Purchased 2011.
Photo: Bo Wong.

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Murdoch University Art Gallery

Level 1, Building 121
90 South Street, Murdoch WA 6150

Monday – Friday, 10am–4pm

+61 8 9360 6602

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Murdoch University Art

Mark Stewart, Art Collection Curator

Dr Baige Zylstra, Assistant Curator