Judy Watson Napangardi - HAIR STRING JW1711

Judy Watson Napangardi Hair String Australian Aboriginal Art Painting on canvas JW1711


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Artist: Judy Watson Napangardi
Skin Name: Napangardi
Born: c.1935 - 2016
Region: Yuendumu
Language: Warlpiri
Subjects and Themes(Dreaming): Mina Mina , Karnta (Women), Kanakurlangu (Digging Stick), Ngalyipi (Snake Vine), Yunkaranyi (Honey Ant), Jintiparnta (Native Truffle) and hair belt.



Judy Watson Napangardi was born circa 1935 at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station. With her family Judy made many

trips on foot back to (and lived for long periods at) Mina Mina and Yingipurlangu, her ancestral country on the border of the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. These places are rich in bush tucker such as wanakiji (bush plums), yakajirri (bush tomatoes), and wardapi (sand goanna). Most of her works depict Mina Mina or Dreamings connected to it: Karnta (Women), Kanakurlangu (Digging Stick), Ngalyipi (Snake Vine), Yunkaranyi (Honey Ant), Jintiparnta (Native Truffle) and hair belt.Judy was taught painting by her elder sister, Maggie Napangardi Watson. She commenced painting for Warlukurlangu artists for a number of years, developing her own unique style. She transmits her energy to her work through her dynamic use of colour, and energetic "dragged dotting" style. She is at the forefront of a move towards more abstract rendering of Jukurrpa by Warlpiri artists; however her work retains strong kurruwarri, the details which tell of the sacredness of place and song in her culture.



  • 2005 'Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu', Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
  • 2005 'Karnta Jukurrpa', Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2004 'Big Country' Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
  • 2004 'Desert Mob' Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
  • 2004 'Divas of the Desert* Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs
  • 2004 'Dreaming Stories', Indigenart, Perth
  • 2004 Little Warlu, Big Stories, Hot Little paintings by Big artists of Yuendumu, Australia's NT & Outback Centre, Sydney
  • 2004 'New Works from Yuendumu', Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
  • 2004 'Painting Country', Thorn quest Gallery, Queensland
  • 2004 Yilpinji - Love Magic and Ceremony, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
  • 2003 Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2003 Black and White. Colour. seeing country in two ways Counihan Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2003 Kurruwarri Pipangka - Designs on Paper' CDU Gallery
  • 2003 Kurruwarri Wirijarlu - Big Story' Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
  • 2003 'The Colours of Mina Mina' Judy Watson and Betsy Lewis, Raft Gallery, Darwin
  • 2003 True Blue Christmas 2003, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
  • 2003 'Yimi Pirrijirdi - Strong Stories' Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2002 Onshore Art Barwon Heads Victoria
  • 2002 'New Works from Warlukurlangu' Indigenart, Perth WA
  • 2002 Indigenart Perth
  • 2002 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
  • 2002 'Warlukurlangu Collection' Parliament House, Canberra
  • 2002 'New Paintings from Yuendumu' Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
  • 2002 'Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu' ,One Union Square Lobby, Seattle, USA
  • 2002 'Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu', Jeffrey Moose Gallery, Seattle USA
  • 2000 Shell Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle
  • 2000 'Wayuta', The Desart Janganpa Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 2000 'Journey to the North West', Palya Art, Sydney
  • 2000 Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
  • 2000 Kurawari, Desart Gallery, Sydney
  • 2000 Beaver Galleries, Canberra
  • 1999 'Mina Mina', Hogarth Galleries, Sydney
  • 1999 Desert Mob Show, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs
  • 1998 Japingka Gallery, Perth
  • 1998 Framed Gallery, Darwin
  • 1998 'Kurrawarri - Kirli', Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
  • 1998 Art Gallery "Culture Store" Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 1998 'A Thousand Journeys', Tin Shed Gallery, University of Sydney
  • 1997 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
  • 1995 SOFA, Chicago, U.S.A.
  • 1995 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane 1995 SOFA, Miami, U.S.A.
  • 1994 'Echoes of the Dreamtime', Osaka, Japan
  • 1994 Armstrong Gallery, Florida
  • 1993 CINAFE (Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition), U.S.A.
  • 1993 Sutton Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1993 Northern Territory Art Award, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • 1993 CINAFE (Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition), U.S.A.
  • 1993 Bellas Gallery, Brisbane
  • 1993 Adelaide Town Hall, (in assoc. with The Pacific Arts Symposium)
  • 1992 Hogarth Gallery of Dreams, Sydney
  • 1991 Darwin Performing Arts Centre, Darwin
  • 1990 'Women's Exhibition'. The Women's Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1990 I.U.N.C. (showing at Hilton Hotel), Perth
  • 1990 Darwin Performing Arts Centre, Darwin



  • Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • Flinders University Art Museum, Melbourne
  • Gordon Darling Foundation, Canberra
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • South Australian Museum, Adelaide
  • Artbank, Sydney


SOURCE: Birnberg, M & Kreczmanski, JB 2004, Aboriginal artists dictionary of iographies: Western Desert, Central Desert and Kimberley Region, 1st edn., JB Publishing, Marleston.

All of Judy's artworks portray the different stories associated with the sacred area of Mina Mina. For Millenia the Warlpiri women have visited the area to perform ceremony and ritual. In this story, Judy expresses the Hair String Skirt Dreaming. The cental motif in this painting is ceremonial hair bands, depicted as arc shapes on either side of the painting. The parallel lifeworks represent the landscape on each side.


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