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"sacred ground" 2010 (audio described)

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Judy Watson

Born 1959, Mundubbera, Gureng Gureng Country. 

Waanyi. Lives and works in Brisbane, Turrbal and Yuggera Country.

Pronouns: she/her  


"sacred ground" 2010


pigment, pastel, latex, acrylic on canvas


Collection of The University of Queensland. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Danielle Milani in memory of Mona Dubois, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane.


The rich red and brown ochres of Judy Watson’s sacred ground evoke the dry savannah landscape of the artist’s ancestral Waanyi Country. Gestures of love and care graciously held in the work emanate from the deep and rich pigments.


The encompassing swirls that extend across the canvas resemble the springs of Waanyi Country that rise to the surface from an artesian basin. The oval shape makes reference to a coolamon, a multi-use vessel in which to carry food or cradle infants that is often used in ceremony. The curved shape of the vessel is divinely feminine to the artist, and a link to her matrilineal ancestors. The shadow of a frond is indicative of plants that flourish despite arid conditions, particularly alongside swamps and waterways.


Presented alongside sacred water, sacred ground shows the interconnected story of place where concepts of linear time collapse on the canvas. Together, the works highlight that we exist in relational spaces, where caring for one is to care for the other.


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