Experience Judy Watson’s ‘tow row’ in digital reality


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 the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). 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.

Access the experience onsite via a QR code or online

Judy Watson’s tow row is a poetic acknowledgment of the Maiwar area’s history and culture — an artwork that explores historical fishing activities on the Brisbane River and local waterways. The 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 celebrations for GOMA’s tenth birthday in 2016.

Judy Watson (left) and Elisa Jane Carmichael at the Queensland Museum viewing original fishing nets that were referenced in tow row

Judy Watson introduces ‘tow row’

Judy Watson, Waanyi people, Australia b.1959 / tow row 2016 / Bronze / 193 x 175 x 300cm (approx.) / Commissioned 2016 to mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art. This project has been realised with generous support from the Queensland Government, the Neilson Foundation and Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Judy Watson

Experience ‘tow row’ in digital reality

QAGOMA continues to celebrate Queensland artists by sharing works that tell our stories, the addition of this digital reality experience helps 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. 

This interpretive tool harnesses the latest digital technology and amplified awareness of Watson’s artwork and its relationship with the nearby Brisbane River. The experience opens with historical photographs, maps, and concept artwork that were part of the artist’s inspiration and research for tow row.

Go on a journey exploring the history and significance of tow row fishing nets and how Indigenous communities created and used them. This sculpture is deeply connected to concealed Indigenous histories, the significance of objects, and the power of memory and loss.

The tow row in digital reality expands awareness of Watson’s work, as well as our understanding of one of the world’s oldest living cultures.

Judy Watson’s tow row 2016

Compatible with iPhone 7 or higher, iPad 6 or higher, Android 9.0 or higher.

This digital reality experience was assisted with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation.

Acknowledgment of Country
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present and, in the spirit of reconciliation, acknowledge the immense creative contribution First Australians make to the art and culture of this country.

It is customary in many Indigenous communities not to mention the name or reproduce photographs of the deceased. All such mentions and photographs on the QAGOMA Blog are with permission, however, care and discretion should be exercised.