March 2022 exhibition: “Eyeseeyou” 

"Ned and Burka help me process my own transmutations and responses within the seismic context of an imploding nation and planet. I just want to smash all the existing regressive societal constructs that limit who we are and can be. 
See how Ned and Burka now merge, overlap, transition, shift shapes colours moods... uniting in heartache and love, hope and loss...the Eyeseeyou series includes eyes that see you and each other clearly as one race. 
We are one race. We're the human race.

The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman

In response to the 9/11 US terrorist attacks in 2001, and the subsequent negative characterisation of Muslims being delivered to Australians by an aggressive Howard government and mainstream media, I took to wearing a burqa in public - including Melbourne’s regular street rallies, weekly art openings, CD launches, gigs, parties.

In December 2001, with Australia joining the US-lead military invasion of Afghanistan, I found myself painting war scenes on small canvases... women in burqas fleeing across desert sand dunes, chased by Australian military tanks...women in black on their knees clutching their dead babies... black corpses scattered on bloodstained snow. I titled this series “A True Story”.

One day in 2002, Ned Kelly suddenly landed beside Burka Woman on my canvas, and so began a new series: “A Love Story”.

Both having experienced discrimination and persecution...hiding out from authorities who would have them killed for the colour of their skin, their heritage, gender, beliefs, and unyielding will to survive…. Burka and Ned spend the next two decades as inseparable companions, undertaking a survey of Australian culture in my ongoing art series re-titled in 2008 as “The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman”.


Mars Drum was born on Wotjobaluk country, Australia.

Art running deep through the female bloodlines on both sides of the family, Mars knew early in life that drawing and painting was her special thing, and that Art was her guiding star.

Mars left home at eighteen to spend the next few decades "living the artful life". This included six years of art residencies and extensive travel in Europe and Asia, and many more years obsessively videoing Melbourne’s fringe arts and counter-cultural happenings, and undertaking a diverse range of experimental community and public art projects and residencies.

Drum’s ongoing visual arts series “The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman” is a contemporary investigation of Australia’s cultural history and identity, and has been exhibited, short-listed, and reviewed positively both nationally and internationally since 2006.

Drum moved back onto Wotjobaluk country in 2012, and paints from her home studio in Dimboola.