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Born Mundubbera, Queensland, Australia 1959


Judy Watson is a prominent Indigenous artist with a distinctive practice in painting and printmaking. She studied creative arts at the Darling Downs Institute in Queensland (1979), Fine Arts at the University of Tasmania Art School (1982), and at the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education (1986).

Her works are associated with a range of themes and issues including feminism, cultural identity, displacement, family, history and Aboriginal culture, and relationships with the land. Paintings are typically created by applying pigment to unstretched canvas, and have a direct relationship with earth’s surface, as well as inviting wider interpretation.

In 1995 she won the Moet & Chandon fellowship, and later represented Australia with Emily Kngwarreye and Yvonne Koolmatrie at the 1997 Venice Biennale. She was one of several Indigenous artists to be commissioned by the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris for designs to be incorporated into the building in 2006.

Watson’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the travelling exhibition Sacred Ground Beating Heart, organised by Asialink (2003–04), and Aratjara, Düsseldorf (1993). Watson has had residencies in Canada, India, Italy, Norway and New Zealand. In 2005 a retrospective of her work was organised by the University of Queensland Art Museum.

Watson’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, many state, regional and university galleries, National Museum of Australia, Queensland Museum, South Australian Museum, British Museum in London, Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan, and Museum of Modern Art, New York.