Watson Jangala Robertson was born in 1976 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. Watson was born into a family of established Warlpiri artists—who would take him out bush, around Nyirripi and Yuendumu, showing him sites and teaching him the traditional ways of his country. He attended the local school and for the past few years has been living in Nyirripi, a remote Aboriginal community 130 kms north-west of Yuendumu.
He began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu and Nyirripi, in 2016. He painted his Mother’s Watiya-warnu Jukurrpa (Seed Dreaming) and his grandfather’s Ngapa Jukurrpa – Puyurru (Water Dreaming), stories passed down to him through the many generations. These stories are creation stories that relate to his family’s traditional country, traditions that stretch back for millennia. He used an unrestricted palette to depict his traditional iconography, at the same time developing a modern individualist style, using bold designs in a variety of contexts. In 2017 he also produced a small number of prints.
Food and bush tucker are still regularly hunted and collected today, and Watson used to like going out hunting with family and friends. When hunting, they hunted for goanna, kangaroo, snake, and witchetty grubs as well as bush tucker, such as native currants, bush potato and bush banana.