Dr. Ngardarb Riches

I am a descendant and elder of the Bardi Jawi and Karajarri from the West Kimberley. I was born and raised in Derby, Sunday Island and One Arm Point. We have a cultural heritage that goes back thousands of years in this country. Inspiration for my work comes from creation, the natural world God has given us and the ability to create something beautiful. My Bardi clan group is Ardiol and they are strongly saltwater people. Our ancestor’s diet consisted of mostly seafoods with the added bush fruits and yams from the land. Rice, flour, tea and sugar came later. My Karajarri people are also coastal and inland people who also lived off the land and sea and today they still practice culture. Cultural knowledge is still being taught to the younger generation today. The use of modern technology is being adapted and used to further those knowledge systems.

Aalngi – Trochus shell polished and carved

Galwa – Traditional raft once used for hunting turtle and dugong

Guwan – Pearl shell shaped and carved

My interest in art started as a child watching family members create artifacts, carved shells, painting, and jewellery making. English was my second language, and my cultural knowledge was a lived experience with added oral history from my family and elders. Later as I worked with people from other tribes creating art, I noticed how making and doing art was making changes to the way they felt relieved of those emotional anxieties some of them had. I later learned that some of these elders were victims of the Stolen Generation. I then started an art group which I called ‘Scattered Tribes’ with members of the Kulin and other people in Melbourne. It was truly an eye opening experience to see the impact art was having on the group. This later prompted me to explore the therapeutics of healing through the arts.

I completed my Master’s in Fine Arts and after that I wanted to do more research, so I have now completed a PhD further exploring healing through the arts through VCA, University of Melbourne. My focus remained and I have since completed a Diploma in Art Therapy through La Trobe University. One of the tools I use in my art therapy is deep listening. I link this to my childhood experience of collecting our native bush honey, where you have to be still to hear the tiny sounds of the bees to be able to find them.

Dr. Ngardarb Francine Riches

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7382-1104

I am a professional visual artist with a career spanning 35 years. I have exhibited my work Nationally and Internationally. My journey has included being a speaker, student, facilitator, co-editor, and Children’s books illustrator. Most of my art projects and pieces are commissioned as Public Art or are paintings for private collections. I have a wealth of life experiences to draw on when consulting for Aboriginal causes and concerns. We have been providing Cultural Awareness and competency training for decades through Schools, Universities, Businesses and charities. 


  • PhD – Doctor of Philosophy – ‘Healing through the Arts; my Art’
  • 2020 Commenced Masters of Art Therapy at Latrobe University 
  • Masters of Fine Arts by Research at the University of Melbourne. ‘Family traditions and continuity of the Bardi Jawi people’
  • Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research
  • Professional Certificate in Indigenous Research
  • Cert. IV Business
  • Cert. IV Workplace training and assessment
  • Mental Health First aid facilitator 
  • Cert. III Child care 
  • Training in Community Pastoral Care, Suicide Prevention, holistic health and wellbeing. Etc.

Tony Riches

  • Advanced Diploma of Ministry and Theology
  • Diploma of Business
  • Cert. IV Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care
  • Cert. IV Workplace training and assessment


    University of Melbourne (2 current projects), Tearfund International, Brimbank City Council (Neighbourhood House mural), CoHealth Centre Footscray  (façade and Internal glass), City of Maribyrnong (installation), SASH’s Salvation Army (3d mural), CoHealth Offices (Triptyche), City of Stirling WA, City of Subiaco WA, Dept. of Health WA, Broome Hospital (multiple commissions in diverse media – bronze, stone, concrete, plaster, mosaic), Binningup School, Conservation and Land Management (signage), Sculpture by the Sea – Cottesloe, Bondi and Denmark…

    Workshops – with Art, Cultural lessons, Murals, Mosaics in dozens of schools in Victoria and WA.

    Many private collectors have also commissioned paintings.  


    Dr. Ngardarb Francine Riches

    2015 Victorian Women’s Honour Roll

    2014 Citizen of the year with Maribyrnong City Council- Victoria

    1996 1st Prize Shinju Matsuri Aboriginal Art Prize – Broome 

    1995 1st Prize Shinju Matsuri Art Awards – Broome 

    Inaugural Percent for Art PUBLIC ART Awards, WA.

    Western Australian Premiers Children’s Book Awards runner-up twice

    Finalist – Multicultural Awards WA

    Tony Riches

    Kimberley Art Award- People’s vote winner

    Inaugural Percent for Art – Mentor to the Artists – PUBLIC ART Awards, WA.

    Twice first prize for the Peoples Vote Award – Shinju Matsuri Art Awards – Broome.


    Ngardarb Francine Riches helps people heal through the arts 6/7/2006

    This Maribyrnong artist helps people heal through the arts … recent citizen of the year Ngardarb Francine Riches talks to Benjamin Millar about NAIDOC Week and how it is a chance for people to understand Aboriginal love for this country.  CLICK HERE to read the article. 

    Kimberley Birds Art Therapist, Consultant and Cultural Advisor

    Dr Ngardarb Francine Riches is an Art Therapist, Consultant and Cultural Advisor listed on the Kimberley Birds (Jiyigas) Website.  CLICK HERE to learn more.