Judy WATSON, heartland Enlarge 1 /1


Waanyi people

Mundubbera, Queensland, Australia born 1959

heartland 1991 Place made: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, powder pigments, pastel on canvas

Dimensions: 177.0 h x 138.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1991
Accession No: NGA 91.828
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from aGOG (Australian Girls Own Gallery), Canberra, October 1991;
  • From the exhibition, ''Judy Watson: prints, drawings paintings', Canberra: aGOG, 25 May-13 June 1991, cat. no., 3.

Dense layers of pigment form the foundation of heartland 1991. Above is a score of red dashes that gently twirl across the surface, to and away from the oval-like form that sits near the centre. The oval core emanates an incandescent glow, a life force that is ‘visceral’[1] and expansive in its subtle push and pull at the space around it. The power of heartland is immediate.

‘It’s this haze of spiralling forms,’ Watson says:

It could be a dust storm or heat haze and then it’s [the layers, the ground, have] just been peeled back and you see the organism that is the country underneath, pulsating like a heart ... [2]

Judy Watson was working in Canberra when she painted heartland, after a return to her traditional country at Lawn Hill Gorge, north-west Queensland, in 1990. The painting embodies the spirit of connection and the continuing presence of Watson’s ancestors in the land. Inherently feminine, the work traces the artist’s links to Waanyi country—her country, her mother’s country, her mother’s mother’s country and so on, to a time when mother and country were one.

heartland is awash with pigment that has been methodically laid and re-laid; it is a ‘tactile map’.[3] This attention to detail, or process, is a distinguishing feature of Watson’s practice and reflects her training as a printmaker. The scrubbing back of layers of pigment imitates the rubbing and manipulation of a lithographic stone’s smooth surface; and the pooling of water on canvas resembles water settling on stone.

Through her art, Judy Watson explores notions of identity, the relationship to land, and the experiences of Aboriginal people, past and present. heartland forms part of this tradition.

Carly Lane

[1] J Watson and L Martin-Chew, Judy Watson: blood language, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2009, p 46.

[2] H Perkins, ‘Judy Watson in conversation’, in H Perkins and M West (eds), One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2007, p 309.

[3] W Caruana, Aboriginal art, Thames & Hudson, London, 1993.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

朱迪·沃森 (Judy WATSON)
177.0(高) x 138.0(宽)厘米
收录号:NGA 91.828

《心脏地带》创作于1991年,致密颜料层构成画基。上面是二十抹红色,轻轻旋转,掠过表面,转向和转离位于中心附近像椭圆的图案。椭圆核心散发出耀眼光芒,发自‘内脏’ [1]的生命力,有力地推拉周围空间。《心脏地带》的力量立即彰显无遗。



1990年,朱迪·沃森回了昆士兰州西北草地山峡谷(Lawn Hill Gorge)的家乡后,创作了《心脏地带》,她当时在堪培拉工作。画作体现了精神纽带和沃森祖先在这片土地上的继续存在。作品表现出固有的女性特质,追溯艺术家与家乡瓦安依(Waanyi)的联系——她的家乡、妈妈的家乡、妈妈的妈妈的家乡,依此类推,直到妈妈和家乡合为一体。



Carly Lane


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra