Jimmy Donegan


Born: c.1940
Place of Birth: Near Ngatuntjarra Bore, Western Australia
Language: Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara
Community: Kalka, South
Region: Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yangkunytjatjara (APY) Lands



Jimmy was born at Yanpan, a rockhole near NgatuntjarrBore, circa 1940. He grew up in the country surrounding Papulankutja (Blackstone) and Mantamaru (Jamieson) in Western Australia. Jimmy has strong family links throughout the APY Lands and his wife was originally from a place near Kalka. Some time ago Jimmy took his wife and children to live at Papulankutja (Blackstone) because of his deep connection to that country. He is now widowed and has returned to Kalka community to live with his children, and to be closer to his sister, Molly Nampitjin Miller, who is a founding director of Ninuku Arts.

Jimmy is a skilled wood craftsman – his spears, spear throwers and boomerangs are prized and much sought after. He is also a strong cultural man, involved in traditional law and ceremony. In August 2010, Jim Donegan won the most prestigious art prize in Australia – the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (known as the Telstra Award). He was the winner of two sections – the General Painting category and the overall prize. Like much of Donegan’s work over the past decade, the award winning painting is solemn and emphatic in its design, but dazzlingly illuminated. The artist’s technique is to compose the color lines of his canvases from thousands of large dots in different hues, which blend into a whole.

Jimmy’s paintings have become highly collectable in recent years.  His work has been acquired by important Australian museums including the National Gallery of Victoria & Australian National Gallery. He is also held in many private collections.


National Gallery of Victoria
Queensland Art Gallery


2017 Finalist, NATSIAA, MAGNT, Darwin, NT
2011 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award - Overall Prize, August, MAGNT, Darwin
2010 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award - General Painting Prize, August, MAGNT, Darwin