Yannima Tommy Watson


Tommy Watson C.1935 - 2017

Tommy Watson was a Senior Pitjantjatjara painter. He was born circa 1935 near the tiny isolated community of Irrunytju in Western Australia, near the junction of its border with the Northern Territory and South Australia, in one of the country's most remote desert regions.Tommy Watson had spent his youth living off the land and acquiring a deep knowledge of his ancestral country, then later worked on cattle stations

Tommy began painting in 2001 and was one of the founding artist of the Irrunytju art centre. Tommy is recognized as one of Australians most renowned aboriginal Artist in Australia and around the world, in 2006 Tommy Watson was one of eight Aboriginal artists whose work was included in the structure of the Musee du quai Branly in Paris.

His artistic career began with paintings inspired by his ancient Dreamings. A powerful statement of title to land, is distinguished by a stunning colourful abstraction where the celebration of country and Tommy's relation to it is generated using bright layers of thickly applied acrylic paint. These are densely dotted in painterly or linear application. His signature colours are the deep rich tones of red, burgundy, gold and magenta pink, with paler highlights in yellow or white.Importantly, no iconographic form or colour that might give insight into ritual knowledge is used. Instead, the titles of his paintings describe place names or encounters of personal and private significance.

Western Desert

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Palya Proper Fine Art operates in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, the lands of the Arrernte people. We acknowledge them as the traditional custodians and pay our respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.