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Digital Award: The Artist Judy Watson by Russell Shakespeare

Digital Award

The Artist Judy Watson

Russell Shakespeare

Sitter

Judy Watson

Medium

Digital Photograph

Dimensions

80 x 53 cm

Representation

The artist represents themselves

Category

Digital Award

About the artwork and sitter

Judy Watson is an Australian Waanyi multi-media artist who works in print-making, painting, video and installation.

Judy was born in Mundubbera, Queensland, and is Brisbane based working out of a studio at Yeronga. Her work is collected by many major Australian and International Galleries, including the Queensland Art Gallery, National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Much of her work examines Indigenous Australian histories, and the loss of Indigenous culture and heritage.

Shakespeare wanted to photograph Judy in an environment that was very polar opposite to the natural landscape. Rather, a man made landscape, referencing the loss of the land and culture to Indigenous Australia.

About the artist

Russell Shakespeare is a working photographer, whose connection to Brisbane goes back over 50 years. He grew up in the suburbs of Brisbane during his primary and high school years, including studying at the Queensland College of Art in it’s former location in Seven Hills.

Judge's Notes

Russell Shakespeare’s photograph of Australian Waanyi multi-media artist Judy Watson is quietly mysterious. The black and white portrait skilfully frames the sitter within an unrecognisable construct of concrete, bricks, and mortar. 

Judy Watson plays herself, outside of the studio, within a backdrop that is haunting and alien. This is a setting far removed from the beauty of Australia’s natural environment. With eyes closed and a swathe of hair masking her face, we are left to imagine what the sitter is seeing. 

This subtle and evocative portrait of one of Australia’s most highly regarded artists references indigeneity and notions of loss and dispossession

Karen Quinlan
Director, National Portrait Gallery Australia
2021 Judge

“Shakespeare wanted to photograph Judy in an environment that was very polar opposite to the natural landscape. Rather, a man made landscape, referencing the loss of the land and culture to Indigenous Australia.”