The Jimmy Pike collection
Life in the desert
Pat Lowe and Jimmy Pike
In 1986 Jimmy Pike was released on parole to a desert camp with members of his family at Kurlku on the edge of his country in the Great Sandy Desert. That same year Pat Lowe, a British born psychologist who had met Pike in Broome Prison in the late 1970s, joined the artist at Kurlku as his partner and collaborator.
Pat’s Story, Husband and wife and their dog and Rockhole Desert Country are some of the drawings that document Pike and Lowe’s life in the desert. Their co-written publication Jilji: Life in the Great Sandy Desert (1990), which was republished in 2012 as You Call It Desert – We Used to Live There, shares Pike’s desert knowledge and artworks along with Lowe’s experiences as a newcomer living at Kurlku. In their first year living in the desert Pat experienced uncomfortable spinifex sores on her legs, which Pike correctly informed her would not return after the desert got to know her.
From 1990, until Pike passed away in 2002, the couple were based in Broome, from where they could both visit the desert and travel internationally to attend exhibitions of Pike’s art.