It was a real treat to have my website and media links thoroughly researched by Martin John Lee, who is also a contemporary artist and one I follow with great interest, before deep diving into my work, my herstory and influences. And doubly treated to have the show topped off with a live phone review of my work between Martin and his international arts correspondent in NYC, Wally Gunn.


Mars Drum

Image: Mars DRUM, Warcrying, 2021, acrylic on canvas

22nd April - 21st May 2023

Horsham Regional Art Gallery

‘Seeing Eye to Eye’ is a selection of mixed media works from ‘The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman’. Viewers are invited to examine their own personal beliefs relating to cultural diversity against those promoted in the media. Although we may have different customs, religions, genders and perspectives, we all share the need to belong, and be loved and respected because we’re all from one race: the human race.

Upcoming event:
Meet the artist at our exhibition opening
Thursday 4 May at 5.00pm
Horsham Regional Art Gallery

Join us as Drum discusses her ongoing series, ‘The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman’, a study of Australia’s cultural history and identity. It has been exhibited, shortlisted,and reviewed positively both nationally and internationally since 2006.


A group show to kick off the Horsham's Art Is Festival 2022 
Artists in order from left to right:
Yama Harradine, Mars Drum, Nhill Women Artist Collective, The Huxleys
Paintings for sale:
No. 6 Something True now sold.

My Artist Statement
I pay my respect to the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Land on which I live and I acknowledge the unbroken connection to Country enshrined in their stories. 
The knowledge that I live on unceded Aboriginal land is what has underpinned my ongoing True History art series since 2001. 
My two protagonists, Ned Kelly and Burka Woman, have served to represent Australians from other countries and cultures who have come to this land over the last 234 years and called it home. 
I am a whitefella artist living on Aboriginal land. I feel lucky that I can use my art to check my privilege in calling this land my home. 

Where:  Community Art Gallery @ the Horsham Regional Art Gallery
When:  May 25th - July 2022
Gala Opening5:30pm  Friday 24th June 2022 
Featuring The Huxleys dance performance and other exciting festival highlights


CASPA Gallery presents



New Work from 

The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman

Exhibition dates: 

Sat 5th – Sun 27th March 2022

Open every day 

from 10am - 4pm

Mars Drum will be in the gallery on weekends

Covid-safe viewing in the gallery

CASPA gallery is located above Stoneman’s Bookroom

Cnr Hargreaves & Mostyn Sts, Castlemaine


"Ned Kelly and Burka Woman 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."

December 2021 

I am painting new work for a solo exhibition in March 2022
@ Caspar gallery, Castlemaine, Victoria

Some of my paintings feature in videos
which can also be viewed in HD on Vimeo

1.5 Degrees NOW  
Part 1

Part 2

May - October 2021   
Creative Workers in Schools
A multi-arts residency program at Dimboola PS, Victoria:
* Creating a Years 3/4/5 class podcast titled "I Talk Kids"
* Exploring musical elements of rhythm through choreographed and improvised dance, and vocable chants with actions

Below is a short Construction in Process video of the CWS project recorded at Dimboola PS during Term 3.

This program was delivered by Regional Arts Victoria in partnership with the Department of Education and Training and Creative Victoria through the support of the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria (WFV) initiative.

December 2021 Update:  "Baltering to Blackfella and Whitefella"

A Term 4 music video project as a follow-up to the Creative Workers in Schools artist residency undertaken in Terms 2 and 3 at Dimboola PS, Wotjobaluk country, Australia

August 2021

My visual response to the nightmare happening right now in Aghanistan 
can be viewed in HD on Vimeo: "We Are One"

Earlier in August 2021

View my latest videos on Vimeo
featuring my new painting titled 

Screenshot from "Paint The Pain Away" (Mars Drum, August 2021, Vimeo)

July 2021

We Are One

I've been painting a lot this year
which makes me very happy

Ned and Burka are so close
that quite often these days
they overlap 
and become one

I am working towards a solo exhibition to be held in March 2022
More details coming soon
New work
Same folk
Different styles

December 2020

Women's Art Register: Bulletin Issue 67 Dec 2020


A visual essay of selected women artists' public art actions in Melbourne in the 1980s and 1990s. Curated by Caroline Phillips:
"I moved into one of two wooden rooms built between the pylons of Dynan Road Bridge [...] following the 1998 Construction in Process:VI: The Bridge festival, facilitating a community mural on the three facing pylons on the edge of the Maribyrnong River. There were between 50 and 100 people daily - dog walkers, cyclists, families, schoolkids, police, Uncle Larry and a small crew of artists who were connected to the Bridge festival event - who "made their mark" on the pylons [...] It was a completely magical experience with no phone or money involved."  
                                                                                                             Mars Drum, artist.

July 2020


Shall I Start to Drink? 

Paintings and video by Mars Drum
Soundtrack "Lusty Poochy" by Womnal

          Jan - May 2020            


  An interactive project in development phase

What does "Living on Aboriginal Land" mean to you?

*Due to covid restrictions, this interactive project is postponed until further notice

March 2020
"We Are One I" in new home, Millthorpe, NSW  (Photo: Owner supplied) 2020

March 2020

   Instagram's #marsdrumgallery is open

The complete works of 
The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman 
 @mars.drum on Instagram.


March 2019

The Agosto Foundation in Czech Republic is working on a media archive of artist activities and events in Czech Republic. 
This is the summary of my six months art residency at the Centre for Metamedia in 1999, Western Bohemia, Czech Republic.

Click on this link to find out more:


Find my latest work on  Instagram  @mars.drum 


July 2018   Back from my NYC Art Infusion Experience 

The first of my viddigifs informing my next art project.....documenting The Met's "Heavenly Bodies" exhibition on my art research trip to New York last month ..... can be viewed in slower motion @mars.drum on Instagram:

#fetishwear for angels, virgins, goddesses and whores... designed by very rich and famous males    

Thom Browne - famous for his #whitemink creations  #banfurfarming

June 2018

"The Opening" sold last week. 
I'm going to miss seeing this painting on my wall, definitely a favourite of mine.  


Delighted to have my artwork included in Mohammad Ali Maleki's book of poetry -  
Written on Manus Island, produced by Rose Turtle Ertler and Janet Galbraith.
Published by Writing Through Fences.

January 2018

Find Mars Drum on Instagram  @mars.drum

Self-portrait      oil on linen          Jan 2018

September 2017

 Instagram peek
                      The Kiss                                              He wouldn't listen                                   Lady Ned steps out                               

Thinkers & Makers Salon #6

July/August 2017

The rapidly changing climate occupies my mind as I paint in my garage studio 
My most recent oil painting ended up as a snowstorm

Snow storm (detail)  
And I've been playing around with mixed media...
... thinking of mass migration...
and multiculturalism

Feb 2017

Follow The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman uploaded daily on Instagram @mars.drum

November 2016 

My photo response to the latest wave of Islamophobia shooting through white Australia.

October 2016

Ned and Burka in Artco Monthly, Taiwan

目前定居墨爾本的杜拉姆(Mars Drum)更長期以罩袍支撐其創作論述。她並非伊斯蘭教 徒,但因目睹「後 9.11」時期澳洲社會由「伊斯蘭恐懼症」引發種族主義橫行,激起她經 常戴著罩袍出門,以行動向種族偏見提出挑戰。此外她更展開「凱利及罩袍女真史」系 列畫作及攝影作品。系列的主角之一凱利(Ned Kelly),是在 19 世紀末挺身率領匪幫對 抗英國殖民政府的真實人物,藝術家在畫作中納入凱利,對抗主流霸權的意圖,溢於言 表。該系列作品圍繞著虛構的「罩袍女」以及凱利的愛情故事展開,「罩袍女」與凱利僅 展露一雙眼睛(前者臉部被罩袍掩蓋,後者則被防彈鐵甲保護),二人同樣被貼上「恐怖 分子」的標籤,攜手過著鴛鴦大盜的綠林游擊生活。

昔日被政府指控為危險人物的凱利,今日已被視為是澳洲的國族英雄。將凱利與虛構 「罩袍女」相提並論,無疑更是對「穆斯林 = 恐怖分子」的「伊斯蘭恐懼症」邏輯提出有 力的警示。澳洲當代藝術就伊斯蘭女性服飾議題的操作,不單具有創作深度還有其獨特 旨趣。甚至可以說:除原住民藝術之外,澳洲回應伊斯蘭女性服飾政治爭議所衍生的作


Mars Drum, who currently lives in Melbourne, has long supported a creative discourse regarding the burqa. She is not Islamic, but she witnessed the racist rampage caused by “Islamophobia” in Australian society during the “post 9/11” period, which inspired her to start wearing a burqa out in public, to challenge racial prejudice by action. In addition, she also launched the "The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman" art series of oil paintings and photographs. Ned Kelly, one of the protagonists of the series, was at the end of the 19th century an outlaw who opposed the punishing regime of the British colonial government.  The artist included Kelly in her paintings to counter the racist intentions of the mainstream media. This series of works revolves around the fictional "Burka Woman" and Kelly's love story. Burka Woman and Kelly show only their eyes (the former's face is covered by a robe, the latter is protected by bulletproof armour), the former labeled a terrorist, the latter a folk hero.
The two protagonists join hands to live the guerrilla life of bush outlaws.
Kelly, who was accused by the government of being a dangerous man, is now regarded as Australia's national hero. Kelly and fiction are on the same level, the "hooded woman" undoubtedly puts forward the logic of "Islamophobia" of "Muslim = terrorist warning. An Australian contemporary art's operation on the issue of Islamic women's clothing is not only creative but also has unique purport. It can even be said: In addition to Aboriginal art, this is an Australian’s response to the political controversy of Islamic women’s clothing. The product has become one of the country's unique international works.

Image: Mars Drum "Desert Walk" C-print 53x80cm 2015 
Collection of Mars Drum the artist, Dimboola, Victoria.



Gave the #LetThemStay banner to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, Melbourne

Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, 12th February 2016

Finalist piece for the Incinerator Art Award 2015: "Burka leads the way"

More from the Little Desert series here


 "Cultural Identity and my Ned and Burka Art"

August 7th 2015: Introducing my talk on Cultural Identity to Year 12 boys

 at Melbourne High School, Sth Yarra. 



"You spoke so well and had prepared your text and images meticulously. It was an enthralling and thought provoking presentation that opened up the boys minds to the experience that some people arriving here have, if they cannot find ‘a place to belong’."
(Alex Grimwade, Melbourne High English Teacher)

"Your presentation at Melbourne High was excellent. I wish you all the best with your art, and your spreading of the much-needed words of positivity about culture, diversity and integration. I hope, in the future, your art will make an even greater impact on our society.
(Matt Wong, Melbourne High Old Boy) 


Pink riverbed photo shoot, June 2015

Burka Woman feels safe in the pink riverbed, safe enough to take her niqab off. Ned's not yet convinced that the coast is completely clear.

Click here to view more of the Pink Riverbed series.

Ned and Burka on the Pink Lake in The Age again!!

ABC RN : Books and Art Tues 14th April 2015

Tune in here for Michael Cathcart with Tansy Curtin and Mars Drum at Bendigo Art Gallery
View Ned and Burka Woman on the Pink Lake here


Mars Drum and Pamela Irving at the Opening of "Imagining Ned"
March 2015, Bendigo Regional Art Gallery

"A year in a burqa gives artist a new view of Ned Kelly's story"

27th March 2015 - Click here to read about Ned Kelly, Burka Woman and Mars Drum. 

Story by Larissa Romensky, ABC Central Victoria

"The Age", March 14 2015


"Imagining Ned"
Opening March 28, 2015
Bendigo Regional Art Gallery

Leanne Fitzgibbon - Senior Curator "Imagining Ned" Bendigo Art Gallery:

Through her practice, artist Mars Drum has reimagined Ned in an entirely new locale: the Pink Lake of the Wimmera region. Her photographic work in this exhibition of Ned and the woman in a burqa – two masked figures – is one of intimacy. While Ned, a 19th-century character, is an outsider because of his bushranger status, the burqa-clad woman represents a contemporary outsider, and like Ned she is often defined by her dress. Drum’s intimate portrait encourages the viewer to see beyond their outerwear and experience their humanity, with the subjects holding hands while walking through a sublime landscape, evoking great empathy. 

View more from the Pink Lake series here

Easter Sunday Little Desert shoot 2015

"Desert Selfie"

More photographs from the Little Desert series here


 WOW in 2014 Regional Arts Australia 2014 


"BELONGING - Great Art Stories from Regional Australia"
Published October 2014, this book can be downloaded from the RAA website.




On 23rd April 2014, Sir Peter and Lady Lynne Cosgrove visited Horsham for the day, and included a tour of our 2013 Writing on the Walls public art project on their itinerary. They were very interested in reading the various pieces of writing installed on the Library walls, and chatting to the participants of the Wow team who were able to be present. Soe Son Di describes the fears and dangers of her former life in the refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border, and how she loves Horsham because she feels calm and safe.

You can check out Writing on the Walls of Horsham at

Easter Monday Pink Lake shoot 2014

More photographs of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman here.



Gallery Central, Nhill.  
Opening at 7 pm, this Friday the 11th April 2014
please join us.

Preview detail of my "Make a Move" installation in "Used", April 2014


Look out for me in issue 2 of Art Edit, a new magazine about living with art.

Art Edit Gallery, p. 54

Click here to view this piece: "Canan and Omar on the Wimmera River" 2014



DIMBOOLA COURIER :         OASIS gets wet at Dimboola today        Sunday, February 23 2014 
OASIS gets wet at Dimboola today

Harrison Po Kyaut and Mars Drum are pictured rowing at the river today.

OASIS Wimmera migrant families enjoyed time spent on the Wimmera River at Dimboola today during one of their regular outings.

Members, from countries including India, Bangladesh and Turkey, meet to absorb Australian culture in a variety of settings, and to meet new people around the area.

The group is supported by committee members Wendy McInnes of Laharum and Mars Drum of Dimboola, who assist the group with their local knowledge and skills. Today the group enjoyed boating and swimming on the Wimmera River, and a picnic on the bank on Riverside.

Mars was introduced to the OASIS group through the children of her Writing On Walls (WOW) project in Horsham. This involved migrant children having their ideas and thoughts about belonging here installed around Horsham on bench seats and at the library entrance.

Mars will be spending time with the group over Easter during a painting workshop at Dimboolas Arura campsite.

OASIS Wimmera was formed in 2010 by three migrants who wanted to assist overseas migrants to integrate into Australian society and understand the cultural transition between Australia and their country of origin.

All migrants are invited to join in with the group; the next outing will be a camping experience at Arura next month.

    Oasis Migrant Picnic Day, Riverside , Dimboola.

The couple in the boat in the background provided the subject for my latest painting: "Canan and Omar on the Wimmera River", the first finished in a new series depicting new migrants enjoying themselves in my Little Desert Wimmera River region where I now live and work.


Tune in here to the discussion as to whether burqas should be "allowed" in Australian Art galleries or not (!) I get to throw in my two cents worth over the phone at some point.                                                                                                                          


The WOW launch: Saturday 22nd June 2013, Horsham. Here's a taster photo, check out the rest of the story and photos  by clicking on this: WOW Horsham

Latest News ::: Public Art Project ::: WOW!

ABC Open's Larissa Romensky has made a video of our WOW project

Click here to watch! 

Or watch us on ABC1 television on Wednesday 12th June 2013 
at 9.55am and again at 8.55pm!

Writing on the Walls of Horsham

March - June 2013

  Mars Drum working with youth from the CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) community of Horsham.


APRIL 2013 NEWS!!!!

Mars Drum talks to ABC's Larissa Romensky, about Ned and Burka Woman.


Solo Exhibition

March/April 2013


Ned and Burka in Banyena

March 2013

Check out the Banyena Photo story here

October 2012

My backyard studio in Natimuk.

Click this link to see the entire Ned and Burka series, and brush up on the historical narratives behind individual works.

Only a limited number of paintings left from the series, so click here to view, choose, buy and enjoy.  


July 2012

As advertised in Australian Art Collector magazine Issue 61  July - Sept 2012
"Opening of the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi  2013 "           Oils on canvas       51x41cm     2011            
Ned and Burka Woman felt right at home at the Grand Opening of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, 2013. Ned suspected that Canadian-American architect, Frank Gehry, had modelled the stunning museum design on the lines of his own unique armour. And Burka Woman really enjoyed showing off the Sidney Nolan works of Ned Kelly to her female UAE friends. 


June 2012


Installation for the "Art Is...festival" 2012, Horsham 

Every child loves to draw. It’s natural.
Why did you stop drawing?
Did someone tell you once that your picture didn’t look right?

Drawing is fun. Drawing is for everyone.
Drawing is natural.

Art is Nature.

In this installation, I have set up a drawing space in an empty warehouse shop front in Horsham, Victoria, to invite members of the public to join me in drawing for fun. I have also set up a painting studio alongside the Drawing Room so I can continue with my painting practice as well. 

Requirements for this installation include: Tables, chairs, rugs, pencils, pens, erasers, electric sharpener, sustainable forest paper, cushions, clipboards, reference books, book stands, organic teas, teapots, tea cosy, tea cups, jugs, tablecloths, honey, sugar, milk, rain water, electric kettle, esky, studio stools, easels, acrylic paints, mediums, varnish, canvases, jars, brushes, desktop for window promo, dividers, me, and people to draw with me.

The space has been provided by local real estate for Horsham's 2012 Art Is...festival. The project is funded by Regional Arts Victoria. My vision is to bridge the gap between members of the public who may not ever step inside a gallery to view artwork on display and local artists, that anyone may come in from the street to enjoy a cup of tea and draw with others for the fun of it. Once inside the building, the members of the public can see the rest of the art on display and take in festival performances which will be occurring daily during the eleven day festival, which opens Friday, 1st June. 

Looking in to my painting studio from
 street at night, drawing videos looping
throughout the festival.
New Pencils. 


 Burka Woman sets up new
space for photo shoot.

© Copyright Mars Drum 2015