Jimmy Donegan - Wati Kutjara Wanampi
Jimmy Donegan - Wati Kutjara Wanampi

Jimmy Donegan - Wati Kutjara Wanampi

Regular price $2,600.00

Artist: Jimmy Donegan

Title: Wati Kutjara Wanampi

Cat No: 17-230

Size: 133 x 105 cm  Acrylic on Canvas


Jimmy paints the Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) from an important site known as Pukara, south-west of Irrunytju (Wingellina community) in Western Australia. It is a story of Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water serpents) - a father and son - who are living at a waterhole. According to the story, Anangu tjuta (lots of people) went to that rock-hole for the kapi (water), which is said to taste sweet. This upset the father and he told them to go back to their own country. Once the people left, the father and son travelled to Willuna, where they camped for weeks. They then return to Pukara. One day they were sleeping, but were awoken by a loud buzzing sound. The Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) had been attracted to the honey grevillea plants found near the waterhole. It prompted the father and son to get up and go to collect the honey from the plants. It is there that the Wati Mututa (male black ants) appeared. They speared the son in his side. When the son started vomiting, he produced the seeds of all the different varieties of honey grevillea plants that are still found there today. They include kaliny-kalinypa, ultukunpa, piruwa and witjinti.


Birth Date: 1950
Place of Birth: Pitjantjatjara
Community Kalka : SA

Donegan was born about 1940, at Yanpan, a rock hole near Ngatuntjarra bore in outback Western Australia. He grew up living a traditional, nomadic way of life in the Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra country around what is now the communities of Papulankutja and Mantamaru.His family settled at Papulankutja (then known as Blackstone) in the 1950s.

Donegan began painting professionally about 2000. He was one of the first painters at the local artists' co-operative Papulankutja Artists, established in 2001. Some of his work with Papulankutja was displayed in a group exhibition in Perth in 2005. During this year, Nuuniwa died, and Donegan moved back to live at Kalka. The couple's four children were living there, and he returned to live with them. He started painting for Kalka's community art centre, Ninuku Arts, when it was established in 2006.

Since joining Ninuku Arts, Donegan's work has been featured every year in the annual Desert Mob exhibition in Alice Springs. It has also been shown in other group exhibitions in Sydney, Canberra, Broome, Melbourne and Adelaide. He has not had a solo exhibition.

Donegan's paintings depict ancestral stories from the Dreamtime, which have spiritual significance for his family. He mostly focuses on stories relating to his paternal heritage. His father was from Dulu, a rock hole in the Gibson Desert well known for dingo packs and spiritually associated with the Dingo Dreaming (Papa Tjukurpa). His grandfather's country is Pukara, a sacred men's site south of Irrunytju that is closely associated with the story of the two snake men (Wati Wanampi Kutjara).These are creation stories. creation stories. 

Donegan's most famous painting, Papa Tjukurpa munu Pukara, combined both of these stories onto a single canvas. It is a composition of several different styles and techniques, and won the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award in August 2010. It was given the award for best painting, and was then chosen for the overall prize from the winners of each of the five categories.  It was the first time Donegan had entered his artwork into a competition.

Critics have said that Donegan's work looks influenced by the early styles of the Western Desert art movement at Warburton – as the artist was living there during the mid-1990s –, but that he also shows a new style and experimentalism.

Group Exhibitions:

2012 Nganampa Ngura, ReDot Gallery, Singapore

2012 INMA: Our Ceremony, Chapman Gallery, Canberra

2012 Four Artists, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2012 Manta Iritjangku: Ngura Kutjupalakutu, Ancient Land: New Territory, Gallery nine5 and Harvey Art Projects, Soho, New York 2011 The Western APY Lands, Art Kelch Touring Exhibition, Germany

2011 The Shared Language of Paint, Exhibition of works from the Ildiko Kovacs Residency, RAFT Artspace, Alice Springs

2011 Wa Ngintaka Tjukurpa - Yangi Yangi Fox and Ninuku Arts, Short Street Gallery, Broome

2011 Recent Works by Ninuku Arts, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2011 Kulina Inma: Listen to Song, Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River

2011 Five Strong Men, Outstation Gallery, Darwin

2011 Desert Mob Exhibition, Araluen, Alice Springs

2011 Ngura Wirukanyanku - This is a Beautiful Place, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2011 Ngura Kalatjara - Land and Colour, AP Bond, Adelaide

2010 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award, MAGNT, Darwin

2010 Warka Kuwari Walkatjunanyi: New Paintings by the Artists of Ninuku, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2010 Kulunypa Tjuta Paintamilani: Lots of Small Paintings, Short Street Gallery (as part of CIAF) Boland Centre, Cairns

2010 The Waku Show, RAFT Artspace, Alice Springs

2010 Desert Mob, Araluen, Alice Springs

2009 Tjungu: All Together, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2009 Ninuku Arsts Ngintaka Tjukurpa: Perene Lizard Dreaming, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2009 Ngura Tjuta: Big Country, Ninuku Arts show, Short St Gallery, Broome

2009 Kulila Nganampa Tjukurpa. Listen to our Stories. Chapman Gallery, Canberra.

2009 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs

2008 Big Country, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs

2008 Desert Mob, Alice Springs

2008 Tjukurpa Kutjupa Kutjupa:Other Stories from Ninuku Arts and Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Short St Gallery, Broome

2007 Western Desert Mob Launch, Perth

2007 Shared Exhibition with Mornington Island at Marshall Art, Adelaide

2007 Big Country, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs

2007 Desert Master Class, South Australian Museum

2007 Papulankutja Artists Group Exhibition, Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth

2007 Senior Men Group Show, Men Happily Painting Together, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2006 Tjilpi show with Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2006 Brother Sister Show, Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth

2005 Senior Artists of Blackstone and Patjarr, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2005 Big Red Country Exhibition, Kalgoorlie Goldfields Art Centre

2005 Desert Mob

2005 Lirru Puru Kuniya Tjukurrpa, Randell Lane Fine Art at Tristan Gallery, Perth













2009 'Fresh Look at Aboriginal Stories' Charly Smith, The Canberra Times, September 2009

2009 ‘Ninuku Artists: Perentie Lizard Dreaming’, Dr Ross Moore, Australian Aboriginal Art, Issue 2, June 2009. 2010 'One Painting, a lifetime of dreams and stories', Nicolas Rothwell, The Weekend Australian, August 2010

2010 'Colourful Desert Dreaming captures Art Award', Daniel Bourchier, NT News, August 2010

2010 'Artist wants story shared', Daniel Bourchier, NT News, August 2010

2010 'South Australian desert Artist Jimmy Donegan wins the Telstra Art Award', Larine Stratham, The Advertiser, Adelaide, August 2010

2010 "Amazing Strength" in 27th NATSIAA Winners, Jeremy Eccles, Aboriginal Art News, August 2010

2010 'And the winner is, Jimmy Donegan', Brooke Bannister and Vicky Kerrigan, ABC Alice Springs, August 2010

2010 'Desert Man wins Indigenous Art Award', Larine Stratham, The Age, August 2010

2010 'Desert Man wins Indigenous Art Award', Larine Stratham,Perth Nov 2010

2010 'First time entrant wins Indigenous Art Award' ABC News, August 2010

2010 Stateline report on Indigenous Art Market, ABC Darwin, Friday 13, 2010

2010 'Mr Jimmy Donegan wins the 2010 Telstra Art Award', Bob Gosford, The Northern Myth, August 2010

2010 'Revelatory Show of Strength in Tradition, Nicolas Rothwell, The Australian, August 2010

2010 'The dazzling deserts of Mr. D', Maurice O’Riordan, Australian Art Collector, Oct-Dec 2010

2011 Original Art Documentary, Channel 10, 5 March

2011 Selection for Jukurpa Diary 2012, artwork NKJD10341, IAD Press, Alice Springs

2012 Canberra Times, Black, White and Beautiful by Sasha Grishin, February 27 2012

2012 Nganampa Ngura Catalogue, Essay by Claire Eltringham 2012 Manta Irititjangku: Ngura Kutjupalakutu, Catalogue Essay by Nici Cumpston (AGSA), May 2012

2012 Aboriginal Art & Culture: An American Eye Blog, Aboriginal Art in America, Again (Summer 2012) June 24 2012 Aboriginal Art & Culture: An American Eye Blog, Ancestral Modern in Seattle and Ninuku in New York, May 27 2012 Artists Talking, A reportage of: Art, Design, Gallery and NYC Events by David Barish, New Pallates of Ancient Land, June 1 2012

2012 Australian Consulate General (USA), Feature, June 2012

2012 NAISA, Australian Aboriginal Contemporary Art Show in New York City by Willie Brown, Saturday 19 May 2012

2012 PRI's The World (News Program), Vibrant Aboriginal Art Exhibit Gives Power To Indigenous Australians by Marlon Bishop, July 4 2012

2012 Sun Valley Property News, Art Scene, Harvey Art Projects Goes Coast to Coast, May 2012

2012 Kluge-Ruhe, Aboriginal Art Collection of University of Virginia, News Piece, May 2012

2012 APY Art Bites into the Big Apple, Feature by Tim Lloyd, The Advertiser, Saturday June 30 2012

2012 Angloinfo, Art and Exhibitions in Singapore, Singapore Event: 'Nganampa Ngura' (Our Place), 26 April 2012

2012 artinasia.com, Nganampa Ngura (Our Place)- Senior men and women's paintings about their home country, ReDot Gallery 14 April 2012

2012 artinasia.com, Ninuku Artists by Alcaston Gallery, 2012


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