Aboriginal artist Jimmy Pike lived in a bush camp on the edge of the remote Great Sandy Desert of north Western Australia where he painted, producing art for which he has become so well known. Born in 1940, in remote sandhill country, Jimmy was a member of the Walmajarri people, one of the last groups to leave the desert and settle on cattle stations in the Kimberley during the 1950’s.
He spent his childhood as a nomad moving with his family around the various waterholes that were the focal points of their arid country. This country, its ancient culture and symbols are the things that inspired Jimmy Pike’s work.
For many years Jimmy Pike supplemented his earnings by carving and selling artifacts. It wasn’t until 1981 that he was first introduced to Western style painting and discovered his talent for art. A few years later he set up his isolated camp in the desert where he painted until his death in 2002. He worked in the open, resting his paintings on a rough work table he made from old planks. He stored his art and other materials under a heavy canvas fly, where he also took refuge from the rare seasonal falls of rain.
Jimmy Pike’s paintings of the physical and spiritual quality of his traditional Walmajarri country have added a new dynamism to the central positions of landscape in Australian art. They project a new dimension to our understanding of connections of place and identity. The artist’s themes of the intricacies of desert landscape, the visual character of the changing seasons and the particularities of its Aboriginal spirituality have transformed this extremely isolated area of the northern part of Australia into a tangible experience and a rare encounter with its beauty and sacredness. Jimmy Pike is one of Australia’s most famous Aboriginal artists. He is represented in the collections of all the major Australian public galleries and museums.
Subject & Themes
Men chained, rainbow serpent.
Australian Museum, Sydney.
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney.
Art Gallery of SA, Adelaide.
Art Gallery of WA, Perth.
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Surfers Paradise, Qld.
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra.
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.
The Holmes a Court Collection, Perth.
Christensen fund Collection.
Qld University of Technology Collection.
1985 Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Melbourne.
1986 Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Sydney.
1986 Black Swan Gallery, Fremantle.
1987 Ben Grady Gallery, Canberra.
1987 Tynte Gallery, Adelaide.
1987 Craft Centre Gallery, Sydney.
1987 Seibu Shibuya, Tokyo.
1988 Birukmarri Gallery, Fremantle.
1988 Capricorn Gallery, Port Douglas.
1988 Tynte Gallery, Adelaide.
1988 Blaxland Gallery, Sydney and Melbourne.
1991 Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London.
1984 Her Majesty’s Theatre, Perth.
1985 Contemporary Aboriginal Art, Praxis, Fremantle.
1987 Print Council Gallery, Melbourne.
1987 Recent Aboriginal Art of WA, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1987 The Fourt National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, Darwin.
1987 Galerie Exler, Frankfurt.
1987 Art and Aboriginality, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK.
1988 Addendum Gallery, Fremantle.
1998 Australian Aboriginal Graphics from the Collection of the Flinders University Art Museum.
1989, Prints by Seven Australian Aboriginal Artists, International Touring Exhibition through the Print Council and Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
1998 Aboriginal Art. The Continuing Tradition, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1990 i’ete Australien a’ Montpellier, Musee Fabre Gallery, Montpeliler, France.
1990 Balance 1990, Views, Visions, Influences, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.
1990 Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection, Harvard University, University of Minnesota, Lake Oswego Centre for the Arts, USA.
1990 Tagari Lia. My Family, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, UK.
1991 Flash Pictures, National Gallery of Australia.
1991 The Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.V 1992 Working in the Round, Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.
1992 Crossroads – Towards a New Reality, Aboriginal Art from Australia, National Museums of Art, Koyoto and Tokyo.
1992 The Ninth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1992 Kimberley Creations, Broome. WA.
1992/3 New Tracks Old Land: An Exhibition of Contemporary Prints from Aboriginal Australia, Touring USA and Australia.
1993 The Tenth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1993 Galerie im Vinyard Berlin.
1994 New Tracks Old Land Touring USA.
1994 Contemporary Visions Melbourne.
1994 Artmove Claremont.
1995 Art Gallery of WA, Major Retrospective.
1996 NATSI Art Award NTMG Darwin.
1996 Friendship Gallery Hefei, People’s Republic of China.
1997 Durack Gallery Broome.
1997 Fireworks Gallery Brisbane.
1997 Framed Gallery Darwin.
1998 Rebecca Hossack Gallery London.
1999 National Gallery of China Beijing.
1999 NATSI Art Award NTMG Darwin
2000 Japingka Gallery Perth.
Aboriginal Artists of Western Australia, (n.d) (folios of works and biographies), Aboriginal Education Resources Unit, Western Australia.
Aboriginal Arts Management Association, 1990, Contemporary Aboriginal Art 1990 – from Australia (presented by the Aboriginal Arts Committee, Australia Council and Third Eye Centre, Glasgow), exhib. cat., Redfern.
1988, Jimmy Pike Graphics from the Christensen Fund Collection, exhib. cat., Christensen Fund, Perth. (C)
Butler, R., 1986, ‘From dreamtime to machine time,’ Imprint 21(3-4), 11. (C)
Caruana, W., 1987, Australian Aboriginal Art, a Souvenir Book of Aboriginal Art in the Australian National Gallery, Australian National Gallery, Parkes, Australian Capital Territory. (C)
Caruana, W., 1993, Aboriginal Art, Thames and Hudson, London. (C)
Crossman, S. and Barou, J-P. (eds), 1990, L’ete Australien a Montpellier: 100 Chefs d’Oevre de la Peinture Australienne, MuseeFabre, Montpellier, France. (C)
Cochrane, G., 1992, The Crafts Movement in Australia: a History, New South Wales University Press, Kensington, New South Wales. (C)
Chanin, E., 1990, (ed.), Contemporary Australian Painting, Craftsman House, Roseville, NSW, Australia.
Davis, J., (ed.), 1990, Paperbark: A Collection of Black Australian Writings, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.
Hill, M., and McLeod, N.,1984, From the Ochres of Mungo, Aboriginal Art Today, Dorr McLeod Publishing, West Heidleberg, Victoria. (C)
Isaacs, J., 1989, Aboriginality: Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings and Prints, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Queensland. (C)
Johnson, V., 1987, Art and Aboriginality, exhib. cat., Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth.
Langton, M., 1992-93 ‘The two women looked back over their shoulders & lamented leaving their country: detached comment (recent urban) & symbolic narrative (traditional),’ Aboriginal Art in the Public Eye, Art Monthly Australia Supplement, 7-9. (C)
Lowe P.Pike J. Jilji Magabala Books 1990.
Lowe P.Pike J. Yinti Magabala Books 1992.
Lowe P.Pike J.Desert Dog Magabala Books 1997.
Lowe P.Pike J.Jimmy & Pat Meet the Queen Magabala Books 1999.
McCulloch, A., & McCulloch, S., 1994, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd, St Leonards, New South Wales.
Perkins H. ‘Beyond the Year of Indigenous Peoples’ in Art and Australia 1993 Vol. 31 No 1 p 98-101.
Ryan, J., 1993, Images of Power, Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, exhib, cat., National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
Wallace, D., Desmond, M., Caruana, W., 1991, Flash Pictures, exhib. cat., National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
1990, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Robert Holmes a Court Collection, exhib. cat., Heytesbury Holdings Ltd., Perth.