QAGOMA Launches Immersive Digital Experience for Judy Watson Sculpture
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) has launched an immersive digital experience that animates and illuminates the significance of tow row 2016, the bronze fishing net sculpture by leading Queensland artist Judy Watson on permanent display at the entrance to GOMA.
The digital experience has been created by QAGOMA in collaboration with the artist and Queensland creative and technology agency ROMEO.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Judy Watson’s artwork was a poetic acknowledgment of the Maiwar area’s history and culture.
‘Judy Watson has created a stunning artwork that explores historical fishing activities on the Brisbane River and local waterways,’ Minister Enoch said.
‘The bronze sculpture, inspired by the traditional woven fishing nets of south-east Queensland’s Aboriginal communities, was the winning entrant of the Queensland Indigenous Artist Public Art Commission, part of celebrations for GOMA’s tenth birthday in 2016.
‘The addition of this dynamic digital reality experience will help unlock deeper meaning about the sculpture, as well as the rich history and culture surrounding the creation and use of these fishing nets by First Nations people.
‘The Palaszczuk Government’s support for QAGOMA helps ensure the Gallery will continue its legacy of celebrating Queensland artists and sharing works that tell our stories,’ Ms Enoch said.
‘I commend QAGOMA for launching this initiative during the Year of Indigenous Tourism to give visitors a unique insight into the story of the sculpture and our shared heritage.’
QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said the interpretive tool harnessed the latest digital technology and amplified awareness of Judy’s artwork and its relationship with the nearby Brisbane River.
‘The experience opens with historical photographs, maps, and concept artwork that were part of Judy Watson’s inspiration and research for tow row,’ Mr Saines said.
‘You are then taken on a journey exploring the history and significance of tow row fishing nets and how Indigenous communities created and used them.
‘This sculpture, like Judy’s practice more broadly, is deeply connected to concealed Indigenous histories, the significance of objects, and the power of memory and loss.We are excited about this opportunity to expand awareness of her work, as well as our understanding of one of the world’s oldest living cultures.’
Judy Watson was born in Mundubbera in south-east Queensland and the spirit of much of her work stems from her matrilineal Waanyi homeland in north-west Queensland.
Judy Watson's tow row was realised in 2016 through the Queensland Indigenous Artist Public Art Commission and generously supported by the Queensland Government, the Neilson Foundation and Cathryn Mittelheuser AM, through the QAGOMA Foundation. It was commissioned as part of GOMA's tenth anniversary celebrations to visibly acknowledge the continuous role played by Indigenous Australians in the cultural life of the country.
This digital reality experience was assisted with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation.