Bernard Japanangka Watson was born in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. He is the nephew of the late Judy Napangardi Watson (1935-2016), a well-known artist at home and abroad. He has one sister, Alison Napanangka Watson who lives in Katherine, 320 km southeast of Darwin situated on the Katherine River. Bernard attended Yuendumu local school and when he finished school he visited many aboriginal communities before getting married. He has one daughter, Louise.
Bernard has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu since 2012. He paints his grandfather’s Pamapardu Jukurrpa (Flying Ant Dreaming), stories that relate directly to his land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. They were passed down to him by his parents and their parents before them for millennia. Bernard uses traditional iconology and an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of his traditional culture.