Body Painting - Purnara

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“Used in law by people from that desert country. Jiljis (sandhills) in the foreground.” Jimmy Pike

This is an original, limited-edition screenprint created by the artist on acetate sheets and printed by Desert Prints, Fremantle, WA, on archival paper.


  • Medium: screenprint
  • Image size: 38cm x 57cm
  • Paper size: 60cm x 79cm
  • Edition size: 60

Aboriginal artist Jimmy Pike lived in a bush camp on the edge of the remote Great Sandy Desert of northern 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 1950s. 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.

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