DOB: c1935 - 2017
Tommy Watson was a Senior Pitjantjatjara painter who was born around 1935 at Anamarapita, 40kms from Irrunytju (also known as Wingellina) in Western Australia.
In 2001, Tommy was one of the founding artists of the Irrunytju art centre. It was here that Tommy was taught to paint and his painting career has taken off ever since. Today he stands as one of Australia's most renowned Aboriginal Artists in Australia and around the world. His works are collected by galleries around Australia and in a number of private collections here and internationally.
In 2005, Tommy was commissioned along with Ningura Napurrula, Lena Nyadbi, Michael Riley, Judy Watson, John Mawurndjul, Paddy Bedford and Gulumbu Yunupingu to produce artwork to be permanently installed in the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, France, which officially opened in 2006.
Mary Knight in the book, Irruntju Arts describes Tommy's style he "uses layers of vibrant colours to symbolically represent the country of his parents and grandparents. Oranges, burgundy, reds, ivory and pinks are used to create sumptuous layers of coloured dots which ripple and surge across the canvas suggesting contours in the landscape, dry creek beds, plains of spinifex and tali (sand dunes)" (2006, p.72). His work expresses the unique landforms of his country and the Tjukurpa law that inspires his artistic practice.
Unfortunately, Tommy passed away in 2017 and his family, friends and the wider Aboriginal Art community lost a very talented and beloved artist.
2008 25th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Darwin
2003 20th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Darwin
2002 19th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award Darwin
2002 Wati Tjilpiku Tjukurpa. Aboriginal and Pacific Gallery. Sydney.
2002 Desert Mob. Araluen. Alice Springs. National Gallery of Victoria. Australian National Gallery. Canberra
Musee du Quai Branly (Paris)
Art Gallery of New South Wales
National Gallery of Victoria
National Gallery of Australia
Western Australian Art Gallery
South Australian Art Gallery