Judy Watson | Waanyi people | Australia b.1959 | bloom 2009 | Pigment, pastel and synthetic polymer paint on canvas | The James C Sourris, AM, Collection. Gift of James C Sourris, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Judy Watson 2009. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011
Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris AM Collection | 12 November 2011 — 19 February 2012 | GOMA | Free admission
bloom 2009 references the oil spill from the Pacific Adventurer in March 2009, when the container ship from Hong Kong lost 31 shipping containers overboard in rough seas, seven miles from Cape Moreton. Maritime Safety Queensland reported that the ship had leaked 270 tonnes of oil into the ocean which had combined with the contents of the shipping containers — highly toxic chemical fertilisers — threatening to become Australia’s worst-ever maritime environmental disaster.
This painting was made at the height of the spill, as huge oil clouds drifted onto beaches near Brisbane. Watson shows an aerial map of the coastline being engulfed, reflecting the real concern about the pollution of these ecosystems. bloom is a strong example of a major aspect of Watson’s practice — works which have a direct and explicit environmental focus — and demonstrates her affinity and connectedness to place, as Watson currently lives and works in Brisbane.