Language group: Warlpiri
Judy Watson was born at the time when many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert Peoples were living a traditional nomadic life. With her family Judy made many trips on foot back to and lived for long periods at Mina Mina and Yingipurlangu, her ancestral country on the border of the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. These places are rich in bush tucker such as wanakiji, bush plums, yakajirri, bush tomatoes, and wardapi, sand goanna. Judy still frequently goes hunting in the country west of Yuendumu, near her homelands.
Judy Watson has painted for Warlukurlangu Artists since 1986 and is a very active member of the enterprise. In her paintings, she depicts stories from her traditional country at Min Mina such as Honey Ant, Women, Kanakurlangu (Digging Stick), Snake Vine and Majardi (Hairstring belt). The art of Judy Watson is characterised by very vibrant colours and textured surfaces.
Judy was taught painting by her elder sister, Maggie Napangardi Watson. She painted alongside her at Warlukurlangu artists for a number of years, developing her own unique style. Though a very tiny woman Judy has had ten children, two of whom she has outlived. She is a woman of incredible energy, this is transmitted to her work through her dynamic use of colour, and energetic “dragged dotting” style. She is at the forefront of a move towards more abstract rendering of Jukurrpa by Warlpiri arists, however her work retains strong kurruwarri, the details which tell of the sacredness of place and song in her culture. Judy’s Jukurrpa are Ngarlyipi (Snake Vine), Karnta (Woman), Mina Mina, and Kanakurlangu.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht
Flinders University Art Museum, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
South Australian Museum, Adelaide