Puntjina Monica Watson


Born: 1940
Place of Birth: Pukara, Western Australia
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Community: Pipalyatjara, South Australia
Region: Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yangkunytjatjara (APY) Lands



Puntjina, also known as Monica, was born circa 1940 at Pukara, an important rockhole and water snake Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) site in Western Australia. As a young girl, she walked to Pukatja (Ernabella) with her father and his three wives – the youngest of them was celebrated artist Wingu Tingima. When she was a bit older, Puntjina worked in the craft room at Pukatja, but she then married Wimitja Watson– a Ngangkari (traditional healer) – and moved with him to Amata, where they had many children. The family wanted to be closer to their home land so during the homelands movement (an initiative to enable Anangu to return to their own country) in the late 1970s they moved to Pipalyatjara.

Puntjina is an important elder in Pipalyatjara, where she continues to live with her husband and family. Both she and her husband are heavily involved in cultural business and travel across much of the area to participate in it. Puntjina has become known for her vibrant use of color, particularly an iconic, high-key yellow. She also has a quirky approach to composition, often framing her paintings with an intricate border created by a plethora of colored dots. Puntjina is a committed artist, painting every day at Ninuku Arts and has established herself as one of the center’s leading artists.