Collection: Judy Watson Napangardi

Born: 1925-2013
Skin Name: Napangardi
Language: Warlpiri
Region: Yuendumu
Dreamings: Mina Mina

Judy Watson Napangardi was “born bush” around 1925 on Mt. Doreen Station, northwest of Alice Springs. Judy grew up living the traditional life of a Warlpiri girl, travelling throughout her tribe’s ancestral lands, in particular around the Mina Mina area between the Gibson and Tanami Deserts.

Judy Watson took up painting in 1986, initially being taught by her elder sister, noted artist Maggie Watson Napangardi. Over time Judy and Maggie moved from the use of discreet dots in their paintings to a distinctive drag and dot technique where the brush does not leave the canvas as they paint. Some say that this technique mimics the style of dancing typical of Warlpiri women in which they drag their feet through the dust. Typical of many Warlpiri artists, Judy uses a vibrant array of colours in her paintings and amazingly achieves a cohesiveness of expression that defies the broad colour spectrum used.

Since Maggie passed away, Judy took over responsibility for the dreamings surrounding the important women’s ceremonial sites at Mina Mina. Judy continually returns to the themes from these dreamings and often represents multiple themes on one canvas. Most commonly, she now paints images associated with snake vine, native truffle (or bush mushroom as Judy calls it), desert oak and sites where the Napangardi and Napanangka women gather

Judy Watson Napangardi is presently on the board of Warlurkurlangu Artists, the Warlpiri community art body based in Yuendumu where Judy lives with a number of her 10 children. Sadly June passed away at Yuendumu on 17 May 2016. She remains an inspiration to those to those people who knew Her personally or through Her paintings.

The Dreaming stories associated with the country of Mina Mina include the Honey Ant, Women, Kanakurlangu (Digging Stick), Snake Vine, and Majardi (Hair String Belt), Judy is known to depict these traditional stories through her art. She well known for her paintings titled Mina Mina Dreaming or Women’s Ceremony. Judy’s artwork is easily recognisable through her use of vibrant colours. She is considered to be a significant contributor to the Indigenous Australian contemporary art movement.

The Australian Art Collector Magazine has listed Judy Watson Napangardi in the Top 50 Aboriginal Artists in multiple years; 1999, 2004, 2007 and in 2008. Rated by the Australian Indigenous Art Market as the 41th most collectable Aboriginal artist of all time.

In 2006 she received recognition by winning the Museum and Art Galleries Award in the 24th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.
Judy’s artworks are owned by private and public collectors from around Australia and overseas.

Judy passed away in May 2016, and she will always remain part of the Corroboree Dream Art family.

Major Collections:
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Flinders University Art Museum, Melbourne
Gordon Darling Foundation, Canberra
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria
South Australian Museum, Adelaide

Selected exhibitions:
2004: ‘ Painting Country’, Thornquest Gallery, Queensland
2004: ‘ New Works from Yuendumu’, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
2004: Little Warlu, Big Stories, Hot Little paintings by Big artists of Yuendumu, Australia’s NT & Outback Centre, Sydney
2004: ‘ Dreaming Stories’, Indigenart, Perth
2004: ‘ Divas of the Desert* Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
2004: ‘ Desert Mob’ Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2004: ‘ Big Country’ Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
2003: ‘ Yimi Pirrijirdi – Strong Stories’ Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne
2003: True Blue Christmas 2003, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
2003: ‘ The Colours of Mina Mina’ Judy Watson and Betsy Lewis, Raft Gallery, Darwin
2003: Kurruwarri Wirijarlu – Big Story’ Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
2003: Black and White. Colour. seeing country in two ways Counihan Gallery, Melbourne
2003: Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
2003: Desert Mob Araluen Art and Cultural Centre Alice Springs
2002: ‘Warlukurlangu Collection’ Parliament House, Canberra
2002: ‘Warlukurlangu Artists Cooperative of Yuendumu’, Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seatlle USA
2002: Onshore Art Barwon Heads Victoria
2002: ‘New Works from Warlukurlangu’ Indigenart, Perth WA
2002: ‘New Paintings from Yuendumu’ Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
2002: Indigenart Perth
2000: ‘Wayuta’, The Desart Janganpa Gallery, Alice Springs
2000: Shell Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle
2000: Kurawari, Desart Gallery, Sydney
2000: ‘Journey to the North West’, Palya Art, Sydney
2000: Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
2000: Beaver Galleries, Canberra
1999: Mina Mina’, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
1999: International Women’s Day Exhibition, Watch This Space, Alice Springs
1999: Desert Mob Show, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
1998: ‘Kurrawarri – Kirli’, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
1998: Desert Designs, Perth
1998: Art Gallery *Culture Store* Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1998: ‘A Thousand Journeys’, Tin Shed Gallery, University of Sydney
1997: Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1995: SOFA, Miami, U.S.A
1995: SOFA, Chicago, U.S.A
1994: Armstrong Gallery, Florida
1994: Echoes of the Dreamtime, Osaka, Japan
1993: Northern Territory Art Award, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
1993: CINAFE (Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition), U.S.A.
1993: Adelaide Town Hall, (in assoc. with The Pacific Arts Symposium)
1992: Hogarth Gallery of Dreams, Sydney
1991: Darwin Performing Arts Centre, Darwin
1990: ‘Women’s Exhibition’. The Women’s Gallery, Melbourne
1990: I.U.N.C. (showing at Hilton Hotel), Perth
1990: Darwin Performing Arts Centre, Darwin

Auction records:
Title: Women’s Dreaming 1995
Details: Synthetic polymer paint on linen, inscribed verso: KA 883/97, 193 x 367 cm
Auction Price: A$216,000- 93 offered for auction
Auction House: Lawson~Menzies