Judy Watson heron island suite #15 2009/2010, etching and screenprint on paper, 24.5 x 19.5cm (plate size), donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Judy Watson, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Works on Paper collection, 2015 © the artist.

To enhance the gallery’s ongoing commitment to Aboriginal programming in partnership with the Aboriginal Reference Group a subcollection focusing on Aboriginal works on paper was established in 2010. Beyond collecting, this group of works will promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture to a wider audience.

The subcollection was launched with the purchase of Dennis Nona’s etching Sarup Au Zig (lost man) (2007) from the 2009 gallery-curated exhibition Art Out of Water: the Fish of Art, with support from Lake Macquarie Art Gallery Society.

Alongside the Nona etching and a group of key works by Jonathan Jones – Untitled (salt) 6 (2010) and Untitled (white poles) 1–3 (2004); this subcollection now boasts pieces by Douglas Archibald, Ruby Djikarra Alderton, Eubena Nampitjin, Ningie Nangala, Dorothy Napangardi, Kathleen Paddoon, Freddie Timms, Jason Wing and Judy Watson.

In 2015, the gallery acquired two important print works by Judy Watson – the artist book, under the act (2007), comprising 20 etchings that explore the history of the artist’s family as it has lived under colonialism and heron island suite (2009), 20 print works exploring the impact of global warming and pollution on the Great Barrier Reef.

The subcollection will continue to grow through purchase and donation, greatly supported by the Lake Macquarie Art Gallery Society.