Jimmy Pike works of art
Jimmy Pike , Jilji and Jimu and Untitled works
The most authoratitive account on Jimmy Pike is be the Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery. According to this gallery, Jimmy Pike (c1940 – 2002) became one of Australia’s most famous Aboriginal artists during the 1990s when he exhibited widely, both paintings and limited edition prints, that told the stories of his early life in the Great Sandy Desert. He stated that “My work is painting and drawing, telling stories from the Dreamtime and about places where Dreamtime people travelled through my country. “
Jimmy Pike was part of the great exodus of desert people in the 1940s and 1950s who moved into the cattle country of the Kimberley, working on cattle stations along the Fitzroy River area. The influx of desert people bought elements of renewed cultural life to the diverse groups along the Fitzroy, and stories were shared as part of an extended kinship and identification with lands now removed from daily life.
Jimmy Pike had a direct graphic style of telling traditional stories and his appeal was widespread from the time he began exhibiting in Fremantle in 1982. A series of linocuts and silkscreen prints by the artist gained him national exposure, and subsequent exhibitions of paintings and prints added to his reputation. His works were exhibited in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Beijing and toured in USA.
Jimmy Pike introduced vivid colour into his work when most high profile Aboriginal desert artists were painting with the earth colours that were dominant in the early 1980s. Some of this colour was introduced by Pike’s love of texta colour ink pens that gave an instantaneous colour aura to all his drawings. Much of Jimmy Pike’s work seemed to concentrate on this aura of power that surrounded the stories and places that were at the centre of Walmajarri culture. He would include figurative elements, often quite simply drawn, then imbue them with the radiance that suggested their deep underlying power.
Jimmy Pike is well represented in books and co-authored many stories with his wife Pat Lowe, giving further accounts of traditional life in the desert. The artist is well represented in the collections of all the major Australian public galleries and museums including National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Museum. In 1995 Jimmy Pike was honoured with a major Retrospective at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth.
Japingka Gallery owes the background of its name to the great desert culture shared by Jimmy Pike and fellow artists Peter Skipper and Hughie Bent. The place where Walmajarri people could come together in the wet season, there being enough water and food sources after rain to support the extended group of nomadic hunters, was an important cultural site. The senior men shared this name with the art gallery that showed their work over several decades.
Japingka Gallery has exhibited and coordinated exhibitions of Jimmy Pike’s work over many years including a solo exhibition in 2000, and more recently included in the 2013 exhibition Landmarks and Law Grounds: Men of the Desert. A selection of paintings and prints by Jimmy Pike is available from Japingka Gallery, where collectors can buy Aboriginal art online with certainty of quality, authenticity and provenance of art works. Aboriginal art status – Highly collectable artist.
The Works of art
This work of art is a screenprint (edition 15 of 95) and was published in 1988. Much like other indigenous artists, Jimmy has used closely packed lines to illustrate and at the same time obscure an indigenous story particular to his culture and people. The end result is a beautiful set of contours, map-like as if viewed from above or from an ordnance survey map.
A second work of art, also a screenprint and untitled, shows a landscape in a different style. The hills and bushland like Jilji and Jimmu uses white lines onto a dark background and produces an effect like a negative. The result is very striking.