Tommy Watson’s phoenix like emergence as an artist is almost without parallel within Australian indigenous art. With a professional career of no more than seven years and no formal training in painting except for that which he initially received at the Irrunytju Community Arts Centre, his work has captured the hearts and minds of collectors all around the world.
John Ioannou: “The value of Tommy Watson’s painting as investment lies in the fact that he has only ever produced 150 or so major works. Tommy regards these as (aboriginal) ‘painting his country’... ‘Beautiful country’... and symboli- cally passing on very important cultural knowl- edge to do with his culture and land.”
Tommy Watson is a senior Pitjantjatjara elder, (Karimara skin group), born around 1935 at Anamarapiti, a homeland 44 kilometres west of the present day community of Irrunytju in Western Australia. As a young man Watson lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle with his family. His acquisition of traditional knowledge and practical skills equipped him to survive the desert and understand the importance of tribal teachings about relationship of country to men’s Tjukurpa.