Judy Watson / Waanyi people / Australia b.1959 / sacred ground beating heart 1989 / Natural pigments and pastel on canvas / 215 x 190cm / Purchased 1990. The 1990 Moët & Chandon Art Acquisition Fund / © Judy Watson/Licensed by Viscopy

Judy Watson
sacred ground beating heart 1989

Not Currently on Display

In sacred ground beating heart, the unstretched canvas has been stained by layers of wet and dry pigment, creating a velvety, sensuous surface that is then marked by urgent touches of colour.

The imagery suggests an aerial perspective of parched land, a vague visualisation of distant memory or the materialisation of an emotion. grandmother’s song was made after the passing of the artist’s grandmother.

Deeply personal and elusive, the painting is imbued with grief, longing and pride for a woman who played a pivotal role in Judy Watson’s development as a person and artist.

Judy Watson was born in 1959 in Mundubbera, west of Maryborough, in south-east Queensland, and lives in Brisbane. The spirit and substance of her work can be found in the homeland of her grandmother and great-grandmother. A descendant of the Waanyi people of north-west Queensland, Watson completed a fine arts degree at the University of Tasmania in 1982.

While living in Sydney, Watson exhibited in the 1989 Artspace survey exhibition ‘A Koori Perspective’ and became associated with the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative, which had been established to promote the work of urban Indigenous artists.

In 1995, she received the Moët & Chandon Australian Art Fellowship, and two years later was represented the country in the Australian Pavilion at the 47th Venice Biennale as part of ‘Fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Judy Watson’. Watson’s work explores drawing, printmaking, painting and sculpture, all referencing an Indigenous connection to land and history.

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