First Nations Collaboration

First Nations Art Project

From the art to the heart: First Nations people taking on gender and disaster

First Nations artists across Australia participated in this art project, initiated by Gender and Disaster Australia (GADAus – formerly the GAD Pod). Communities considered how gender is implicated in their experiences of disasters. The project provided community groups with a culturally safe space and time to discuss events that impacted their communities, and the different ways women, men and non-binary people have been affected. GADAus has evidenced over a decade that family violence increases amongst non-Indigenous people after disasters. However, little is known about what happens within First Nations communities affected by disasters concerning gendered roles and family violence. This project represents a small step towards opening conversations.

Watnanda Consulting were engaged to coordinate this project and guided by Gunditjmara cultural principles to enable each person to participate with self-determination, flexibility, and new opportunities. The feedback on the project process was that it was simple (no red tape), empowering, self-determining, showed trust, and was action-oriented. Participants noted, “This is how we like to do business.” They were surprised to have such a blank canvas when it came to designing how, when and where they would undertake the project.


Opportunities to enhance self-determination have stemmed from this project for participants. It has provided a chance for people to gather, reflect, discuss, and tell their stories, which are then portrayed in an artwork about gender and disaster.
This project hopes to gain an insight of how gender is relevant to disasters and experiences for First Nations people. By doing so, the emergency management sector can become more inclusive and effective. We all have much to learn.


From the art to the heart: First Nations people taking on gender and disaster allows people to see these paintings firsthand. This travelling exhibition launches in Queensland in July, visits New South Wales in August, and continues to each state and territory.

Browse through our Art Exhibition Catalogue to see reproductions of this beautiful artwork, along with the artists’ statements and key learnings.

Art Exhibition Catalogue

Art Exhibition Postcard