Judy Watson Napangardi was born around 1935 at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station, 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. Most of her works depict Mina Mina or Dreamings connected to it: Karnta (Women), Kanakurlangu (Digging Stick), Ngalyipi (Snake Vine), Yunkaranyi (Honey Ant), Jintiparnta (Native Truffle) and hair belt.

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 and 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 artists, however her work retains strong kurruwarri, the details which tell of the sacredness of place and song in her culture.

Major collections:

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

Selected exhibitions:

2004: ‘Painting Country’, Thornquest Gallery, Queensland
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: Kurruwarri Pipangka – Designs on Paper’ CDU Gallery
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: ‘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
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

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