Yolŋu at Heart: A model for intercultural collaboration

Three people examining Indigenous Australian artworks in a museum storage area
Margo Smith, Kade McDonald and Djambawa Marawili examining Yolŋu artworks at the Museum Support Center of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 2015. Photo: Tom Cogill

Margot Smith AM presents The HRC Cultural Institutions Annual Lecture

Kluge-Ruhe Director Margo Smith recounts the remarkable story of Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala. The idea for this exhibition originated with Djambawa Marawili AM during his residency at Kluge-Ruhe in 2015. Over the past seven years, museum staff and Yolŋu knowledge holders worked together on the curation, bilingual catalogue and digital resource, refining an approach to collaboration based on shared values, and rethinking the ways in which Indigenous Australian artists and communities can work with museums internationally.

Presented in partnership with the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth, New Hampshire (US)


Margo Smith AM has served as director of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia since 1998. Smith has organized many exhibitions at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection and other venues in the US and abroad. She served as consulting curator on Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Artists at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC in 2006 and Lignes de Vie (Lifelines) at the Musee de la Civilisation in Quebec, Canada in 2015. She co-edited Art from the Land: Dialogues with the Kluge-Ruhe Collection of Australian Aboriginal Art with Dr. Howard Morphy. In 2015 Smith was named and honorary member of the Order of Australia.

Image gallery

Date & time

Fri 23 Sep 2022, 9am




Margo Smith AM, Director of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia


HAL Administration


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