Judy Watson was born in 1925 at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station and died at her home in Yuendumu on the 17th of May 2016. When Judy was born many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert Peoples were living a traditional nomadic life. 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. Judy frequently went hunting in the country west of Yuendumu, near her homelands.
Judy was taught painting by her elder sister, Maggie Napangardi Watson. She painted alongside her at Warlukurlangu Artists for a number of years, developing her own unique style. Though a very tiny woman Judy has had ten children, two of whom she has outlived. She is a woman of incredible energy, this is transmitted 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 arists, however her work retains strong kurruwarri, the details which tell of the sacredness of place and song in her culture. Judy’s Jukurrpa are Ngarlyipi (Snake Vine), Karnta (Woman), Mina Mina, and Kanakurlangu.
Napangardi passed away at Yuendumu on 17 May 2016.