Jimmy Pike’s Artlines showing at the Berndt Museum in the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of Western Australia showcases Pike’s work from 1990-2000. The exhibition opened on June the 26th with the opening night on Friday the 29th of June.
The late Jimmy Pike had an illustrious career as an artist – he is probably most famous for his work for Desert Designs. His history is as interesting as his work. A member of the Walmajarri people he was one of the last to leave the desert and settle on the Kimberley cattle station in the 1950′s.Pike’s affinity with the land and his Indigenous heritage is defined by his colourful and inspiring works of art.
Artlines features smaller felt-tip projects which have been divided into categories relating to Pike’s Indigenous roots. Every work is bold and vibrant and tells a story about the land or Pike’s relationship to it.
The first series of paintings are organised under the heading of Ngarrangkarnijanka or Spirit Beings. The second series is Ngurrara or country. Which features the desert country, sand hills, waterholes, animals and birds and trees. Jila is the third collection which is living water or waterholes which were significant to the tribe for not only replenishment but for their spiritual value.
A standout of the Jila paintings was Mangkajakura which displays a colourfully represented owl over a waterhole (Mangkajkura is a jila named after the owl that made it). Pike used to great effect crimson, red, black and orange and like all his work in this exhibition the colour is dazzling and vibrant.
Wirl or stars is the next grouping and the fifth is Jalarra or modern world. Pike’s depiction of the modern world including a painting of an aeroplane and Pike’s experiences of getting an x-ray is thought -provoking . Pike’s aeroplane is represented as a flying bird. The ‘modern world’ works are exciting in terms of their insight into an Indigenous perspective about what we consider ‘everyday’ phenomenon.
Partiri or Flowers is the largest grouping of works and carries on the theme of bold colour and the depiction of the natural and spiritual from Pike’s unique point of view.
As a part of City of Perth Winter Arts Festival, The Jimmy Pike Artlines exhibition is open until the 15th of December and the gallery opening times are as follows Tues. to Sat 11am- 5 pm.
By Jemma Goodchild