Judy Watson – the holes in the land (2015)

 Judy Watson

the holes in the land (2015)

 

 

 

6 colour etchings from zinc plates|
the holes in the land #1; #3, #4 and #6 – 37.5 x 49.5 cm
the holes in the land #2 and #5 – 49.5 x 37.5 cm

Published in editions of 30 on Velin Arches 300 gsm 70.0 x 54.0 cm
Publishers: Judy Watson and grahame galleries + editions  / numero uno publications
Printer: Cicada Press

Prices from 20th September 2015
10 suites Numbered 1/30 – 10/30  $5,500.00
suites 1/30 – 8/30 sold

single etchings numbered 11/30 – 30/30 $1,100.00

In 2013 Judy Watson was an artistic fellow at the British Museum where she worked on Engaging Objects, a collaborative research project between the British Museum, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian National University.

For Engaging Objects Watson researched Aboriginal cultural material held in the British Museum’s collections since the 19th and early 20th century.
In 2015 from drawings made during her research Watson produced a suite of six etchings, the holes in the land.

Some of the visual material Watson included in her etchings:

Pituri, a native tobacco with narcotic properties, was a valuable source of trade for Aboriginals in Western Queensland. The tobacco was carried in bags made for this purpose. One bag is made of cord from human hair tied along one side with string. The boat-shaped bags containing pituri are tightly woven with twine and wool from government blankets. In the 1860s William Finucane, Government Land Commissioner in Burketown and Normanton, obtained these bags.

A mangrove paddle for a raft, collected during the North Australian Exploring Expedition led by A.C. Gregory in 1855-6, was presented to the British Museum in 1857 by the expedition’s surgeon and naturalist, J.R. Elsey. A wooden club from Moreton Bay was presented by A.W. Franks Esq. in 1880.

An ‘apron worn by Women’ of the Mara Tribe from the MacArthur River area and an apron made of a fringe of ochred opossum hair strings on a 4-ply cord of human hair were given to the British Museum by Prof. Baldwin Spencer and J. Gillen Esq. in 1904.

The rich colour of the etchings first beckons and then leads us to investigate the Aboriginal cultural material Watson has superimposed on the 18th 19th  and 20th century architectural plans of the British Museum. Despite the fragility of these cultural objects they impose their weight on the Museum and remind us of the holes left by their absence in Aboriginal culture.


the holes in the land 1 (2015)

4 plate etching
Colours: Yellow Ochre, Red Ochre, Black and Blue

Description of objects from British Museum labels:
Bottom left: Oval bag of pituri made of cord woven of human hair tied along one side with string. Interior beyond N.S. Gregory W. Queensland.
Purchased. Christy Fund. 23 Sept. 1897 (Finucane.) L. 10”
Top right: 97-637 Area – Australia, Sub-Area – (S.E.) Queensland PICTURI (NARCOTIC) BAG OF Human Hair String.

British Museum Plan:
British Museum Additional Gallery No. 2, 3rd May 1881.

 the holes in the land 2 (2015)

4 plate etching
Colours: Yellow, Turquoise Blue, Black and Blue

Description of objects from British Museum labels:
Top left to bottom right: OC 1973, Q. 18 N. Australia.
Paddle for a raft made from the wood of a variety of mangrove. Straight cylindrical handle, spatula blade, the surface being natural. Gulf of Carpentaria near Albert R. see source: R.G.S. VA XXVIII (1858) p. 152. Presented by T.R. Elsey Esqre. 1857. A.C. Gregory, N. Aust: “Expl 9. Exped”. Paddle made of wood. This object was collected during the North Australian Exploring Expedition. (1855-1856) led by A.C. Gregory. It may have been collected by James A. Wilson, the expedition’s geologist. It was presented to the BM in 1857 by J.R. Elsey, the expedition’s surgeon and naturalist.

Top right and bottom left. East-Australia
‘Club of dark wood, rudely made, following the form of the branch from which it was cut, the head whitened, the handle red, with scratches & lines near the butt, Moreton Bay Queensland. Registration No. 1167 Australia: Moreton Bay Queensland Wood Club presented by A.W. Franks Esq. L. 2 feet, 5 1/2 inches May 20 1880.

British Museum plan:
Plan of the Ground Floor of the British Museum. Plan (N) Corrected up to January 1st 1862.

the holes in the land 3 (2015)

4 plate etching
Colours: Yellow, Red, Black and Blue

Description of objects from British Museum labels:
Centre: OG 1980, Q.691 Boat-shaped bag of pituri tightly woven of pale-coloured wool from government blankets. (l. 20.0 x 50.0 x depth 18.0 cm.) Acquisition details unknown. 97-636 Area: Australia Sub-area: W. Queensland Tribe:

Bottom right: Category: Boat-shaped bag of pituri made of twine and wool from government blankets. The colours are dark blue and red arranged in concentric circles. Interior beyond N.S. Gregory, W. Queensland. Purchased Christy Fund 23 rd Sept. 1897 (Finucane).

British Museum Plan:
The Plan of Second Story Montague House 1786.

 the holes in the land 4 (2015)

4 plate etching
Colours: Yellow, Ultramarine, Black and Blue

Description of objects from British Museum labels:
Bottom Right: Australian Central 1903 4-4-32 Fringe of ochred opossum hair strings on a 4-ply cord of human hair MSS. 17 ‘apron worn by Women’ Mara Tribe MacArthur R. given by Prof. Baldwin Spencer and J. Gillen Esq. 4-4-1904 Area Oceania Sub Area Australia Tribe North Territory MacArthur R. Category Women’s Apron. Dimensions L. 12.0 cm w. 15 cm.

Middle: ‘Australia’ Central Fringe of opossum hair, strings greased & ochred on a 2-ply string of dark brown human hair string. MSS 217. ‘apron worn by Women’ Mara tribe MacArthur River.

British Museum Plan:
General Plan of the Ground of the British Museum showing the proposed situation of the New Wing connected with the old Building and the intended extension of the Design.

 the holes in the land 5 (2015)

3 plate etching
Colours: Green, Red and Blue

British Museum Plan:
Plan of the Drains and Water-Pipes. Geo. Saunders July 9. 1910.

 the holes in the land 6 (2015)

2 plate etching
Colours: Red and Brown

British Museum Plan:
Plan for fitting up the Table Cases with Drawers in the Gallery of Minerals.