Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike was born east of Japirnka, an important waterhole in the Great Sandy Desert.  He grew up as a hunter and gatherer, learning how to provide for all his needs with his own hands. With his family he travelled his wide, hot country on foot.  He learnt how to find every waterhole, and knew the name of every animal and plant. 

But the ancient way of life of the desert peoples was coming to an end. Pike, like other members of his family, joined the drift north to the sheep and cattle stations of the river valleys, where life was said to be much easier than in the sandhills, and food more plentiful. After living for a time as a fringe-dweller in the hills around Cherrabun Station, he eventually joined his relations in the station camp.  He worked as a stockman on Cherrabun and many other stations around the Kimberley.  

Pike was influenced by Christianity but, along with many other young men, he also learnt to drink.  He got into trouble with white law and served a number of years in prison, in Perth and then nearer home, in Broome.  

While he was in Fremantle Prison, Pike joined the art class and learnt to  paint and make lino prints.  He developed his own unique style and soon became well-known, through exhibitions of his work and through Desert Designs, the fashion label that used his designs on fabric and other goods.  Back in Broome Prison he met Pat Lowe, who was working there as a psychologist. Lowe later joined him in his desert camp and shared his three years of parole.  Later, the pair went to live in Broome, but kept their small camp in the desert and went back there from time to time.  As a Native Title claimant Pike took part in field trips and was one of the painters of the famous Ngurrara canvas, which was used as a map in the claim.

In later years, Pike travelled to a number of other countries to hold exhibitions of his work: the Philippines, China, Namibia, Italy and the United Kingdom.  Wherever he went, he made an impression through his art and his personality.  

Pike and Lowe collaborated on a number of books based on Pike’s life, which he illustrated.  He died suddenly in 2002. 



Jimmy Pike Trust

Under the terms of Jimmy Pike's Will, his Executor Pat Lowe was charged with the task of establishing a trust for the purpose of promoting Aboriginal art and culture.

Pat established the Jimmy Pike Trust on 18 August 2008 in fulfilment of this obligation. The Trust is funded from sales and royalties from Jimmy Pike's artistic works and from donations from the public. The Trust has been endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the ATO under the provisions of Section 30-100 Item 12.1.1 following its acceptance on the Register of Cultural Organisations.

Donations are tax-deductible. Your support would be appreciated.

The Scholarship

The Jimmy Pike Scholarship will normally be awarded to Aboriginal artists in the Kimberley region with the aim of better developing their artistic gifts. The Scholarship will assist one or more artists to pursue their art, but is not restricted to any particular artistic activity or medium. The Trust is open to approacheds from individual artists or from art centres on their behalf. It may provide support for an artist who has been unsuccessful in attracting adequate funding from the Australia Council or the WA Department of Culture and the Arts. Successful applicants will be expected to secure part of the funds required for their projet from other sources, and/or to make a contribution themselves.

Kimberley artists are especially encouraged to apply, but the Scholarship will be awarded on the merits of the application by the Trustees or their appointees. The decision of the Trustees will be final.

The inaugural Jimmy Pike Scholarship in 2010 was awarded to Pampirla Hanson Boxer and his son Edwin Lee Mulligan from the Kimberley, WA. The Scholarship sponsored the pair to spend two weeks at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, practising their art and learning printmaking through the Open Bite programme. The residency culminated in an exhibition in the Kurongkurl Katitjin gallery at ECU.

The Jimmy Pike Trust was recently featured in an article by IMPRINT written by Paul Uhlmann from Edith Cowan University - please click on Article. Permission has been given by both author and photographer for the article and pictures to be placed on this website.


Initial enquiries are to be made to the Trustees

Wyemando Bequest Inc
Locked Bag 5

or by email to admin@wyemando.org.au

 ABN 24 701 592 125


Wyemando Harper Sisters Aboriginal Bequest Inc

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