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Unique art depicts fascinating life

Friday, 8th May, 2015

Pat Lowe looks over art created in the style of Jimmy Pike by school kids. Pat Lowe looks over art created in the style of Jimmy Pike by school kids.

By Darrin Manuel

Primary school children have been getting a lesson in the art of expression by looking at the colourful work of acclaimed Aboriginal artist, Jimmy Pike.

Jimmy grew up as a hunter-gatherer in Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert in the 1940s. He later lived in and around Cherrabun Station and became a stockman.

Despite problems with alcohol and stints in jail, Jimmy developed his talent for art and went on to have exhibitions in the UK, Italy and across Asia.

The Regional Art Gallery now has ‘Jimmy Pike’s Artlines’ on diplay, which is a collection of drawings he did using Artline pens.

Jimmy died in 2002 but his widow, Pat Lowe, has carried on his legacy and is working with local children to open a window into the artist’s world and his work.

“It’s just talking about Jimmy and looking at drawings, and just getting a sense of who he was,” Ms Lowe said.

“He had such a different life from the rest of us, growing up in the desert.”

She said Jimmy’s Artline drawings were always well received by kids, who can relate to the vibrant and carefree designs.

“His work does appeal to children a lot. It’s just so colourful.

“He could draw perspective very well but he often didn’t, he’d just break all the rules and produce beautiful stuff.

“He was a natural designer. He’d just sit down with a piece of paper and create.

“He never hesitated. He’d just start drawing, and you can see it in the colour and freedom of his work.”

The gallery’s education officer, Ian Howarth, said the exhibition had been very well received, and that about 200 children would view the works over the course of the week.

“Traditionally you think of Aboriginal art as the dot style, but he had such a different approach to creating his work,” Mr Howarth said.

“It’s a colourful, abstract style and there’s a beautiful balance and symmetry,” he said.

“We’d like to thank all the teachers. They’ve put in a lot of effort to bring the kids through, and it’s just great work for children to see.”

The gallery will also be hosting a morning tea tomorrow at 11am, where Pat Lowe will give a talk about the life she shared with Jimmy.

‘Jimmy Pike’s Artlines: You call it desert, we used to live there’ will be on display at the gallery until May 31.

To RSVP for the morning tea, call Ian Howarth at the gallery on 08 8080 3440 or email ian.howarth@brokenhill.gov.nsw.au

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