The region of Southeast Asia has a long and important history of trade, cultural and intellectual development through regional exchange and export markets over many centuries. Moderated by Dr Siobhan Campbell, this symposium considers the role of material culture in understanding these histories.

Moderator:  Dr. Siobhan Campbell


  • ‘Clay, Kiln, Cargo: Southeast Asia’s ceramics in context’ by Dr Natali Pearson, Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of Sydney
  • ‘Musings on Majapahit and the World's First Piggy Banks’ by Dr Ann Proctor, Art Historian specialising in the arts of Southeast Asia
  • ‘Recovering Ritual Meaning in Art Collections’ by Dr Matt Cox, Curator of Asian Art, Art Gallery of NSW

The speakers will also discuss the vital role that private collectors play in the development of public collections. Speakers will discuss key works from the Dr John Yu AC collection and offer their perspectives on object research and the overlapping relationships between collectors, museums and the art market.

Dr. Siobhan Campbell has developed specialist knowledge of the art and culture of Southeast Asia over many years of intense and sustained engagement with this region. In 2013 she gained her doctorate on the classical painting tradition of Bali through the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney. Over the past decade Siobhan has undertaken postdoctoral studies of Balinese art as a fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in the Netherlands and as a recipient of an Australian Postdoctoral Endeavour Fellowship. Siobhan teaches in the Asian Studies and Art History programs at Sydney University and is part of a research project investigating Indonesian art and archival documentation titled Institutions and the Making of Indonesian Contemporary Art. Her most recent academic publication examines the role of Balinese women artists in Indonesian art history. Siobhan is the curator of Upacara, and curated the Encounters with Bali exhibition at Mosman Art Gallery (2014) and Museum Tekstil, Jakarta (2018).

Natali Pearson works at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre at the University of Sydney, where she is affiliated with the School of Languages and Cultures. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Indonesia. She is co-editor of Perspectives on the Past at New Mandala ( and a regular contributor to The Conversation. Natali holds a PhD in Museum and Heritage Studies (2019), a Master of Museum Studies (2013); a Master of Arts in Strategy and Policy (2006); and a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) with Honours Class One in History and Indonesian Studies (2002). She has worked at the Asia Society’s galleries in New York and Hong Kong, and as a consultant to the Asia Society Arts & Museum Summit. She is an alumni of the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies and the Asialink Leaders Program. Prior to this, she worked in Asia-focused defence and anti-money laundering / counter-terrorism financing roles in the Australian federal government.

Ann Proctor is an Art Historian specialising in the arts of Southeast Asia. She has worked in education in Australia, the Philippines and the West Indies, principally as a teacher of art and art history. The author of numerous articles in a range of journals, her PhD thesis from the University of Sydney was published in 2009 as Out of the Mould: Contemporary Ceramics in Vietnam. Since moving to Sydney in 1995, she has taught at the National Art School, the Australian National University and in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Ann currently serves on the editorial committee of the TAASA Review and as a director on the Board of VisAsia at the AGNSW. Her children’s book Awesome Art Vietnam was published in 2021 by the National Gallery of Singapore.

Matt Cox is curator of Asian art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, where he is broadly engaged with both historical and contemporary art. Most recently, he was AGNSW co-Curator for The National 2021: New Australian Art, curator of A Promise: Khaled Sabsabi (2020), Walking with Gods (2019), Playback: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennale 2018 and Passion and Procession: Art of the Philippines (2017). Matt has a PhD on Indonesian modern art from the University of Sydney, where he has taught subjects on contemporary art. He has published widely in Australia and internationally on Asian art, architecture and photography, including publications for the National Gallery of Australia, Mosman Art Gallery and The Asian Arts Society of Australia journal.



Image: Water jars [nam ton], Northern Thailand,16th century, Red earthenware, white slip, 27 x 9.5 cm, 17.5 x 7 cm, 18 x 7 cm


Saturday 27 November 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Mosman Art Gallery