Judy Watson

... seeing the country through my grandmother's eyes learning
about bush foods going back to the city
and making work ...
Judy Watson 1991

In 1990 Judy Watson was able to fulfil her life-long dream of researching her Aboriginal heritage by travelling to her grand-mother's country of north-west Queensland. A direct descendant of the Waanyi clan, Watson was born in 1959 at Mundubbera in the coastal hinterland of Queensland. She grew up in Brisbane and attended the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, Toowoomba, where she gained a Diploma of Creative Arts in 1979. After moving to Hobart in 1980 she graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1982.

Subsequently Watson lectured at the Townsville College of TAFE and tutored at the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education.

In exploring her background, Watson encountered many isolated Aboriginal artists, and she has assisted them in gaining access to art facilities. She has had numerous appointments throughout Australia as an artist-in-residence, some of which have involved establishing lithography workshops and courses. As winner of the 1995 Moët & Chandon Fellowship, Watson travelled to France in 1996; she later exhibited in Paris. She was also included in the 1997 Australian exhibit at the Venice Biennale.

Watson's Aboriginal heritage is reflected in her depictions of the bone coffins which she encountered on visits to her grandmother's country. Her prints have an ethereal quality: mystical figures, caught in a spindrift; their form is unclear; a swirling, spiritual mirage.  
Red rock
from Crossroads: Millennium Portfolio of Australian Aboriginal Artists
1998 Brisbane
lithograph, printed in colour on paper
Gordon Darling Fund 1999
Dust storm
1989 Brisbane
lithograph on paper
Gordon Darling Fund 1990


Sacred ground
1989 Brisbane
lithograph on paper
Gordon Darling Fund 1990


1989 Brisbane
lithograph on paper
Gordon Darling Fund 1990
from The land
1992 Studio One, Canberra
etching and aquatint, printed in colour on paper
Gift of the National Heart Foundation
(ACT Division) 1993