Collection: Judy Napangardi Watson

Date of Birth : c.1925
Country : Yuendumu, NT
Language : Warlpiri

Judy has been a force in the contemporary Aboriginal art movement for more than two decades. She is a woman of incredible energy who was born at a time when her people were still living a traditional nomadic life. As a result she has an innate and profound knowledge of country.

Her dynamic use of colour and unique dragged dotting style has become a part of her popular and distinctive style. Judy Watson was has been included as one of Australia‘s 50 most collectable artists by the prestigious Australian Art Collector magazine. Her work continues to be exhibited worldwide and collected by large institutions and private collectors.

Judy Watson Napangardi was born in C1925 at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station, and grew up living the traditional bush life. With her family Judy made many trips on foot back to Mina Mina and Yingipurlangu, her ancestral country on the border of the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. She now lives at Yuendemu and paints for the Warlukurlangku Aboriginal Artists.

The desert is rich in bush tucker such as wanakiji (bush plums), yakajirri (bush tomatoes), and wardapi (sand goanna) and Judy still goes hunting in the country west of Yuendumu. Most of her works depict Mina Mina or Dreamings connected to it: Karnta Jukurrpa(Women’s Dreaming), Kanakurlangu (Digging Stick), Ngalyipi (Snake Vine), Yunkaranyi (Honey Ant), Jintiparnta (Native Truffle).

Judy was taught to paint by her elder sister, well-know aboriginal women artist, Maggie Napangardi Watson (deceased). Although Maggie did have a huge influence on Judy’s style of painting there was always a friendly rivalry between the two sisters. Judy is a women of amazing energy and is a confident painter in her own right painting her sacred land with flamboyant brush-strokes and in vibrant colours. As a Warlpiri artist she is at the forefront of abstract rendering of the Jukurrpa whilst maintaining the strong “kurruwarri” (sacredness of place and song).

Judy painted alongside Maggie at Warlukurlangu Artists for many years, until Maggie’s death.

Judy has had ten children, two of whom are deceased.


Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht

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


2005 Karnta Jukurrpa, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2005 Yilpinji, Love, Magic & Ceremony, Galerie DAD, Mantes-la-Jolie, France

2004 ‘Painting Country’, Thornquest Gallery, Queensland

2004 ‘Painting Country’, Thornquest Gallery, Queensland

2004 Judy Napangardi Watson, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

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 & Betsy Lewis, Raft Gallery, Darwin

2003 Kurruwarri Wirijarlu – Big Story’ Hogarth Gallery, Sydney

2003 Kurruwarri Pipangka – Designs on Paper’ CDU Gallery

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, Seattle USA

2002 ‘Warlukurlangu Artists Cooperative of Yuendumu’ One Union Square Lobby, Seattle, 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

2002 Bellas Gallery Brisbane

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

2000 “Marking the Paper”, Desart Gallery, Sydney

2000 “jangku yinyi” Carey Baptist Grammar School, Melbourne

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 Framed Gallery, Darwin

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

1995 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1994 Armstrong Gallery, Florida, USA

1994 “Echoes of the Dreamtime”, Osaka, Japan

1993 Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

1993 Northern Territory Art Award, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs

1993 CINAFE (Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition), U.S.A.

1993 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane

1993 Adelaide Town Hall, (in assoc. with The Pacific Arts Symposium)

1992 The Long Gallery, Hobart

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, Northern Territory
Judy Napangardi Watson