Meet Maria Watson-Trudgett

Maria Watson-Trudgett - standing in front of her painting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs Officer

What does your role with Positive Partnerships involve?

I am the first permanent Indigenous person to work with Positive Partnerships.  I feel very privileged. I support teachers and parents with a greater understanding of autism.  In turn, the knowledge they gain supports in assisting students with autism to accomplishing their educational goals.

I also support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities in the awareness of autism spectrum, while building trusting relationships with Autism Spectrum Australia.

What is your cultural heritage?

I am a Wiradjuri person.  Wiradjuri people are original custodians from New South Wales.  The name Wiradjuri means ‘the people of the three rivers’, the rivers make up the borders of Wiradjuri country.  The Murrumbidgee (Marrambidya), Lachlan (Gulari) and Macquarie (Wambuul).  Traditional names in brackets.

How do you practice your culture?

I paint.  My style is contemporary Aboriginal art.  My paintings express my connections to country, family, contemporary culture; and creates an awareness of the first peoples of Australia.  I paint in a way that promotes reconciliation and cultural awareness between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.  This brings me great joy and optimism.

Knowing my heritage is connected with the oldest race of people on earth, and that Indigenous culture survived untouched for tens of thousands of years, is overwhelming and empowering when I contemplate this.  These feelings influence my artistic expressions; contemporary expressions of now, inextricably linked to an ancient past.

What is something people may not know about you?

I have won several awards for my paintings, and have exhibited in Parliament House.  One of my large commissioned paintings went to Colorado in 2016.   I am painting two commissioned artworks at present.