Visual artist, activist and educator, Lilla Watson grew up on the Dawson River in Queensland and moved to Brisbane in the late 1960s. In 1979 she became the first Aboriginal person to be appointed as a tutor, by The University of Queensland [UQ]. Watson went on to work for UQ as a lecturer in Aboriginal Welfare Studies and later served as an appointed member of the University Senate. Her areas of academic expertise include women's studies and the place of Aboriginal epistemology in education.
Watson was also the Inaugural President of the Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agency, a founding member of the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association and Vice President of the Aboriginal and Islander Independent School Board, Acacia Ridge. She has acted as a consultant and a member of working groups, panels and selection committees for many Government and non-Government organisations.
In the 1990s, Watson developed her visual art by drawing on Aboriginal designs and understandings of the Queensland landscape. Her art work has attracted national and international acclaim including her public works such as those installed in Brisbane at the John Oxley Library Library, the Roma Street Parklands and the new Brisbane Magistrates Court.