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"cumulus: Recent Work by Judy Watson "
2001-09-15 until 2001-10-06
24 HR Art - Northern Territory Centre for Contemporary Art
Darwin, NT, AU

Noted Indigenous artist Judy Watson has been based in the Territory for the last few years and has produced a new body of work that is premiering in Darwin before heading to Sydney. Timed to coincide with the NAATSI Awards and a plethora of other Indigenous shows which opened in Darwin on Sept 15, the exhibition features large paintings, (pigment and earth on canvas) and a recent folio of prints.

The works in the show were largely inspired by a recent trip the artist made to her ancestral country at Lawn Hill Gorge and Riversleigh Station with her family. Other works were inspired by a residency at the Pink Palace, Julalikari Council, Tennant Creek working with Aboriginal women. †Some of the works on canvas were started there and they hold the earth from that region. Another piece recalls the Connistan Massacre and other such incidents in Australia's history.

To quote from the catalogue essay by Hannah Fink: The notion of country is central to any understanding of Aboriginality, whether in presence or, as for the many Aboriginal people separated from their ancestral land, in †absence. †Much of Judy Watsonís work is characterised precisely by a dynamic of presence and absence, whether through use of relief and resist methods of print or mark-making, depiction of the motifs of fossils, shells, vessels and islands, or allusion to the relation of past and present, remembrance and forgetting, erasure and renaissance.

In 1990, Judy travelled with members of her family to the birthplace of her grandmother and her great-grandmother, a profound experience which has become the touchstone of her work. †Of this experience of country Judy says, it was learning from the ground up. I listen and hear those words a hundred years away that is my Grandmotherís Motherís country it seeps down through blood and memory and soaks into the ground


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