Arts and Museums Minister Gerry McCarthy today congratulated Mr Donegan for winning this year’s $40,000 Telstra Award.

Mr McCarthy said Mr Donegan was judged to have produced the best work among the 96 finalists as part of this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAAs).

The NATSIAAs is one of Australia’s premier art awards showcasing various works from the best established and emerging Indigenous artists from around the country, Mr McCarthy said.

Indigenous art and material culture play a significant role in the Territory’s unique identity and the Territory Government is proud to support the presentation of this year’s award over the next 12 weeks including tonight’s opening celebration.

I congratulate Mr Donegan for his work Papa Tjukurpa and Pukara which relays ancestral stories from both Mr Donegan’s father’s and grandfather’s country.

I also thank this year’s judges for selecting the five category winners and the overall winner, as well as Telstra for its continued support of the NATSIAAs for the next three years.

In 1984 the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory launched the award, the first of its kind in Australia. Telstra has been the principal sponsor since 1992.

Telstra’s long partnership with the MAGNT has allowed the gallery to secure many important works and develop a stunning core collection of indigenous art, which contributes greatly to the gallery’s permanent collection, Mr McCarthy said.

The Telstra Collection is comprised of 96 works acquired through their 18 year association with the awards, almost half of which have been prize winners.

We are proud to continue our long association with Telstra and look to further increase the profile of the awards, Mr McCarthy said.

I encourage Territorians and tourists to attend tonight’s NATSIAAs opening ceremony on the MAGNT lawns from 5.30pm with the accompanying exhibition open until 7 November.