Tommy Jangala Watson is a very active and respected member of the Yuendumu community, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. He is a Council Worker and was a member of the consultation committee for the Mt Theo Petrol Sniffing Program Working Party. The Mt Theo Program successfully eradicated chronic petrol sniffing in Yuendumu and now provides a comprehensive program of youth development and leadership, diversion, respite, rehabilitation, and aftercare throughout the Warlpiri region. As a Kurdungulu, under Aboriginal custom, Tommy Jangala has the right to know stories and act as witnesses to ensure they are properly told.
Tommy has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed Art Centre, since 2008. He consistently paints his father’s Jukurrpa, Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming), stories which relate directly to a site west of Yuendumu, Puyuru, its features and the animals and the plants that inhabit it. These stories were passed down to him by his father and his father’s father before him for millennia. Tommy uses traditional iconography and an unrestricted palette, producing bold artwork with an individualist style to depict his traditional Jukurrpa.