2003, Highly Commended, 20th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
Musee du Quai Branly, Paris Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth South Australian Art Gallery, Adelaide Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Elizabeth and Colin Laverty, Sydney Patrick Corrigan, Sydney Auscorp, Sydney Kerry Stokes, Perth
2010 Irrunytju Artists, Agathon Galleries, Sydney 2009-2010 Emerging Elders – honouring senior Indigenous artists , National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2009 Kutu Wara (The Last One), Solo Exhibition, Agathon Galleries Sydney 2009 Nganmapa Ngura (My Country) Irrunytju Artists, Linton and Kay Fine Art, Perth 2009 New Works: South Western Desert Art of Australia, Agathon Galleries Sydney, Melbourne 2009 Nganampa Tjukurpa: South Western Desert Art of Australia’, Agathon Galleries Sydney 2009 Agathon Galleries Sydney, Melbourne 2008 Agathon Galleries Sydney, Melbourne 2008 Lismore Gallery 2008 2003, 2002 Selected for Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award 2007 Musee du Quai Branly, Paris (permanent exhibition) 2007 One Sun, One Moon, Art Gallery of New South Wales, NSW 2007 Tommy Watson, Solo Exhibition, Agathon Galleries, NSW 2007 Senior Irrunytju Artists, Agathon Galleries, VIC 2007 Irrunytju Fundraiser Exhibition Agathon Galleries, NSW 2006 Tommy Watson, Solo Exhibition, Agathon Galleries, VIC 2006 Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC 2006 Mus�e du Quai Branly Paris, France 2005 Tommy Watson, Agathon Solo Exhibition, Sydney NSW 2005 Cairns Regional Art Gallery, QLD 2005 Wollongong City Art Gallery, NSW 2005 Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Gallery, VIC 2005 Ngayuku Ngura (My Country), Vivien Anderson Gallery, VIC 2005 Senior Irrunytju Men, Aboriginal and Pacific Gallery, NSW 2004 Colour Power: Aboriginal Art post 1984, National Gallery of Victoria, VIC 2004 NATSIAA – Celebrating 20 Years, National Archives of Australia, ACT 2004 Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, SA 2002/2003/2008 Finalist in Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards
Allen, Felicity, “Aborigines conquer colour barrier”, Herald Sun, 1/12/2004, pp55. Askin, Pauline, “Aboriginal art master puts on final public show”, Reuters, 4/9/9/2009 Askin. Pauline, “Aboriginal master puts on final public show”, Yahoo! News (UK and Ireland), 4/9/2009 Askin, Pauline, “Aboriginal master puts on final public show'”, Yahoo! News (USA), 4/9/2009 Backhouse, Megan, “Art from the centre”, The Age, 30/7/2003 pp12. Backhouse, Megan, “Maynard snaps up Challis award”, The Age, 22/10/2003 pp8. Backhouse, Megan, “Visual Arts Dominate RAKA Award show”, The Age, 1/11/2003 Backhouse, Megan, “French Passion for Aboriginal art”, The Age, 20/10/2004, pp8. Backhouse, Megan, “Art around the galleries”, The Age, 4/11/2006, pp24. Blackwood, Torsten, Photos, The Wall Street Journal, http:topics.wsj.com/subject/a/Aborigines/1687/photos, 4/9/9/2009 Blackwood, Torsten, “Australia-Art- Aborigines-Watson”, Mediafax foto, 4/9/2009 Bock, Andrew, “Radical Contemporaries”, Australian Art Review, February-April, 2009, pp39 Boyce, Alexandra, “Art”, Sun-Herald, 25/6/2006, pp28. Button, James, “Taking Arnhem Land to the world”, The Age, 10/9/2005, pp12. Button, James, “Artists’ stories will live on forever in Paris museum”, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/9/2005. pp19. Button, James, “Dotted Pathways from the outback to the Skies”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20/6/2006. Buzacott, Martin, “The Bright Lights Illuminating Paris”, Courier Mail, 17/6/2006, pp4. Cosic, Miriam, “Home for hopes and Dreaming”, The Weekend Australian, 17/6/2006, pp19 Crawford, Ashley, “Architecture for the Irrunytju”, The Age, 21/9/2005, pp17. Crawford, Ashley, “A broad brushstroke”, The Age, 19/5/2007, pp18. Cubby, Ben, Lauren Martin, “Seine scene -stealers”, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/10/2004 pp16. Catalogue of Works, Desert Mob, 2003, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs Culturla precinct, Alice Springs, 2003 Creagh, Sunanda, “Native titles honoured half a world away”, Sydney Morning Herald, 31/5/2006, pp7. Creagh, Sunanda, “Shalom Gamarada”, Sydney Morning Herald, 24/6/2006, pp16. Eccles, Jeremy, “”Culture Wars”, Art Market Report, Issue 34, Fourth Quarter 2009, pp28-30 Eccles, Jeremy, “MGNT Considers Future of Telstra Art Award”, Aboriginal Art Online,1/10/2008 Eccles, Jeremy, “The stars of Aboriginal Art”, Aboriginal Art Online 27/3/2008 Eccles, Jeremy, “Now who’s bagging whom?”, Australian Art Market Report, Autumn, 2006 pp24-5 Frank, Lillian, “Popular art”, Herald Sun, 21/10/2005, pp106. Geissler, Marie, “The Art of Tommy Watson”, Craft Arts International, No. 73, Sydney, 2008 pp2-6. Geissler, Marie, “Boom Time For Australian’s Indigenous Art”, Platinum Magazine. No 1, Journal International, Hong Kong, 2008, pp48-49. Geissler, Marie, “A Passionate Engagement; Marie Geissler on Collecting Aboriginal Art”, Canvas, December 2008 Geissler, Marie, Review of McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art: the complete guide, Craft Arts International, No.76, pp114-5 Grigg, Mik, “Art Melbourne 06 VIP Night”, The Sunday Age, 23/4/2006, pp20. Guy, Anna, “Yannima Tommy Watson” (Reviews), Craft Arts International, No.78, 2010, pp3 Harper, Alison, “Black Art Goldrush, Australian Art Market Report, Summer 2005/6 Hudson, Fiona, “Parisian Dreaming”, The Advertiser, 24/6/2006, pp4. Hudson, Fiona, “Black and bleu”, Herald Sun, 24/6/2006, pp13. Hudson, Fiona, “Art of the controversial”, Courier Mail, 24/6/2006, pp7 Hutchings, Patrick, “At the roots of art”, The Age, 8/7/2006, pp5. Jackson, Andra, “Outback nomad strides to success”, The Age, 8/5/2008. Knights, Mary, et al: Irrunytju Arts, 2006, p 72 Laverty, Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Beyond Sacred, Hardie Grant Books, Prahan, Victoria, 2008, pp106-7 McCulloch, Emily, New Beginnings: Classic Paintings from the Corrigan Collection of 21st Century Aboriginal Art, McCulloch & McCulloch Australian Art Books, Fitzroy, Vic., 2008 McCulloch, Susan, “Biting the hand”, The Weekend Australian, 30/8/2003, pp25. McCulloch, Susan, “Desert blooms with raw energy”, Weekend Australian, 13/9/2003, pp21 McCulloch, Susan, McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Complete Guide, McCulloch & McCulloch Australian Art Books, Fitzroy, Vic., 3065, 2008 McDonald, John, “A shredded dollar for their thoughts”, Sydney Morning Herald, 5/11/2005, pp28. McDonald, John, “The guiding lights”, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/12/2005, pp18. McDonald, John, “Viola, the art of reconciliation”, Sydney Morning Herald, 1/7/2006, pp16. McDonald, John, “Mirror, mirror on the wall”, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/8/2006, pp16. 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Reid, Graham, “Postcards”, Artnews New Zealand, Summer Edition, pp44 Michael, Reid, “Tommy Watson”,The Art Oracle, Sydney Morning Herald Room Brochure, 20th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award, 2003, pp4 Rothwell, Nicholas, “Remember Wingellina – The life and death of an art phenomenon – Dust to dust”, The Weekend Australian, 23/8/2003, pp1. Rothwell, Nicholas, “Lines shimmer into shape”, The Australian, 13/9/2005, pp14. Rothwell, Nicholas, “Desert Artists Make a Move”, The Australian, 17/10/2006 Rothwell, Nicholas, “Theory of National Selection”, The Australian, 19/8/2008 Ryan, Judith, Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2006, pp71. Ryan, Judith, (ed.),Colour Power, Aboriginal Art Post 1984, in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, pp112. Stewart, Phoebe, “Alice gallery defends its honour in court”, Northern Territory News, 12/7/2007, pp9. Stewart, Phoebe, “Artist wins $300,000”, Northern Territory News, 12/4/2008, pp11. Stewart, Phoebe, “This was a fight about artists”, Northern Territory News, 12/4/2008, pp20. Stowell, Jill, “A glimpse of brilliance”, Newcastle Herald, 19/5/2007, pp30. Sweet, Michael, “Mining the desert for art , not history”, The Australian, 7/9/2004, pp16. Symons, Emma Kate, “View on the Seine is Aboriginal”, The Australian, 9/9/2005, pp18. www.daao.org.au/main/quick_search?q=balgo&page=3 Wilson, Ashley. “Last Hurrah for old man of brush”. The Australian, 7/7/2009,pp7 � Discovery Media, Documentation Pty Ltd, and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Tommy Watson was born c. 1935 at Anamarapiti, about 44 km west of the small community of Irrunytju, which is situated on the tri-state border of Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory. He is of the Pitjantjatjara people. He travelled in the bush with his parents. He learnt about hunting and respecting country from his father. With these skills he set out on his own, living like his father taught him. ” I want to paint these stories so that others can learn and understand about our culture and country”. Watson began painting in 2002 following the establishment of the community arts centre at Irrunytju in 2001 by the senior women of the community. His work was first exhibited in 2002 in Wati tjilpiku tjukurpa (Senior men’s stories) at the Aboriginal and Pacific Gallery, Sydney, and in Desert mob at Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs. Watson was selected for the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2003 and 2002 and is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Watson is widely recognised and respected both nationally and internationally, notably being selected to exhibit his work (as a permanent fixture) in the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.
Andra Jackson, May 8, 2008
TOMMY Watson sits quietly and toys with his walking stick to trace an outline on the floor. His niece Jorna says the Alice Springs artist often uses a stick in the same manner to draw an idea in the dirt for what might become an acclaimed painting. While others talk around and about him, the elderly artist from the Northern Territory border’s Irrunytju community, has a faraway look in his eyes. He speaks only Pitjantjatjara and his niece and Agathon Galleries owner John Ioannou translate for him. No one is sure of his age. His niece produced a health card that shows his birth date as July 1, 1936, but suggests this is probably when health authorities first saw him. It was more likely he is in his 80s, she said. What is more certain is that six years after taking up painting, Tommy Watson holds the record for the highest price fetched by a living indigenous artist. That was for his work, Waltitjata, which fetched $240,000, while an exhibition of his paintings, two years ago sold out before it opened. He was in Melbourne for last night’s reopening of the Agathon Galleries in Armadale, where his paintings are included in an exhibition of works by indigenous artists. Last year his works were bought by the Musee du Quai museum in Paris. While proud of the recognition his works have drawn, Paris doesn’t figure in the world of someone who spent his early years living a nomadic lifestyle and walking thousands of kilometres for survival. A stockman for much of his working life, his biggest trip outside the Northern Territory before his late blossoming career as an artist was to Adelaide as a dancer. He represented the Ngaanyatjarra region at the Adelaide arts festival. Asked if he still dances, he raises a hand in protest, and his niece translates: “He says ‘too old now’.” He first encountered painting at Papunya, where a school of artists was emerging. It took community worker Albie Vargas at Irrunytju to coax him into taking up a brush and he found he enjoyed it. He is a law unto himself when it comes to his work, painting only when inspired. “Sometimes we find him up at 7am painting over bits he didn’t like,” Mr Ioannou said. Copyright � 2008 Fairfax Digital, The Age