Tommy Watson

DOB: 1935

LANGUAGE GROUP:Pinjantjatjara
COMMUNITY: Irrunytju, Western Desert, WA

Yannima Tommy Watson is a senior Pitjantjatjarra elder and Law man. Watson was born at Irrunytj in the remote Central Desert
Watson spent many of his early years as a stockman and handyman, working in a number of stations and outstations in the desert. Watson was one of the founding members of Irrunytju Arts and has sprung to prominence both nationally and internationally. He paints ancient and sacred stories associated with their lands known collectively as Tjukurrpa. His bold artwork is highly sought after.
A finalist of the Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2002, 2003 & 2008 and held in all major public collections in Australia, plus a permanent presence at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, Holding the record at auction for a living Indigenous artist of $240,000 and underpinned by four further results in excess of $90,000
    • Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
    • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
    • National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
    • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
    • Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
    • Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
    • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
    • Elizabeth and Colin Laverty Collection, Sydney
    • Patrick Corrigan Collection, Sydney
    • Auscorp, Sydney
    • Harold Mitchell Collection, Sydney
    • Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
    • Richard Branson Collection
    • Luciano Benetton Collection, Italy
    • Adam Knight Collection, Melbourne
    • Aranda Art Collection, Melbourne
    • Australian National University, Canberra
    • Jacquie McPhee Collection
    • Luciano Benetton Collection, Venice

    Awards and Recognition

2014 The Watson, Art Hotel, Adelaide – hotel themed on Tommy Watson art
2014 The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), Maastricht, The Netherlands (one of the world’s most prestigious art fairs): a major work (160 x 485cm) by Tommy Watson was exhibited.
2008 25th NATSIAA, Darwin – Finalist
2006 Installation, Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
2005 Top 50 Collectable Artists, Australian Art Collector Magazine
2003 Kate Challis RAKA Award: Places that name us, The Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne – Finalist
2003 20th NATSIAA, Darwin – Finalist and Highly Commended
2002 19th NATSIAA, Darwin – Finalist

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2021 Yannima Pikarli Tommy Watson, Brenda Colahan Fine Art, Sydney
2018 Desert Master, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2015 Tommy Watson Showcase, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2013 Going Back to Country, Metro 5 Gallery, Melbourne
2010 Tommy Watson, Metro 5 Gallery, Melbourne
2009 Kutu Wara | The Last One, Agathon Galleries, Sydney
2007 Tommy Watson, Agathon Galleries, Sydney
2006 Tommy Watson, Agathon Galleries, Melbourne
2005 Tommy Watson, Agathon Galleries, Sydney

Selected Group Exhibitions
2021 Across the Top 2021, Art Mob, Hobart
2021 Aboriginal Art Exhibition – From the Desert to the Sea, Gallery One, Southport, QLD
2021 Voyage across Aboriginal Australia | Founders’ Favourites, Fondation Burkhardt-Felder Arts et Culture, La Grange, Motiers, Switzerland
2020 60 by 60 – Small Paintings, Japingka Gallery, Perth
2020 Pointillism Perfection, Art Mob, Hobart
2020 Director’s Choice 2020, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Top Ten – Our Most Popular Artists 2019, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Defining Tradition | the colourists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 Spring Collection: Exhibition to celebrate our beautiful Spring Collection, Brenda Colahan Fine Art, Sydney
2019 Large Showroom; Large Works, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2018 Beyond the Veil, Olsen Gruin, New York
2018 Masterpieces from the Western Desert, Nanda Hobbs, Sydney
2018 D’lan Davidson – New Works
2018 Into Abstraction: Exploring the Diversity of Abstraction and its Affiliations from the 1960’s until the Present, Brenda Colahan Fine Art, Sydney
2018 Welcome to Thompson Street, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2017 Way out West, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2017 Sharing Country, Olsen Gruin Gallery, New York
2017 A SWEEP continues, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2017 Important Australian Indigenous Art , D’Lan Contemporary, Melbourne
2017 A SWEEP: Old & New Works, FireWorks Gallery, Brisbane
2017 From the Vaults, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2016 From West of Here, Piermarq, Sydney
2016 Art Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Florida
2016 Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia, Harvard Art Museums
2016 Selected Indigenous Paintings, Nanda Hobbs, Sydney
2015 Transcendence, Nanda Hobbs, Sydney
2015 Art from the APY Lands, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2014 From the Vaults, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2014 Winter Warmers, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2010 Christmas Show, Aranda Art, Melbourne
2010 Irrunytju Artists, Agathon Galleries, Sydney
2010 Desert Country, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
2010 Irrunytju Artists: Nganampa Nguru – Our Country, Linton and Kay Fine Art Gallery, Perth
2009 Emerging Elders – honouring senior Indigenous artists, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
2009 Nganampa Ngura – Our Land: Irrunytju Artists from the Western Desert, Linton and Kay Fine Art, Perth
2009 New Works, South Western Desert Art of Australia, Agathon Galleries, Sydney and Melbourne
2009 Nganampa Tjukurpa, South Western Desert Art of Australia, Agathon Galleries, Sydney,
2009 Agathon Galleries, Sydney and Melbourne
2008 Agathon Galleries, Sydney and Melbourne
2008 Lismore Gallery, Lismore
2007 Permanent Exhibition Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
2007 One Sun, One Moon, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
2007 Senior Irrunytju Artists, Agathon Galleries, Melbourne
2007 Irrunytju Fundraiser Exhibition, Agathon Galleries, Sydney
2006 Landmarks, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
2006 Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
2005 Cairns Regional Art Gallery, Cairns
2005 Wollongong City Art Gallery, Wollongong
2005 Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Gallery, Melbourne
2005 Ngayuku Ngura (My Country), Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
2005 Senior Irrunytju Men, Aboriginal and Pacific Gallery, Sydney
2005 Mixed Show, Aranda Art, Melbourne
2004 Colour Power: Aboriginal Art Post 1984, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
2004 NATSIAA – Celebrating 20 Years, National Archives of Australia, Canberra
2004 Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide
2003 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
2002 Wati Tjilpiku Tjukurpa | Senior Men’s Stories, Aboriginal and Pacific Gallery, Sydney
2002 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs

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