The Jimmy Pike collection
Birthplace of an artist
Jimmy Pike was born near Jila Japingka a major waterhole around 400 kilometres south of Fitzroy Crossing in the Great Sandy Desert. Jila are desert soaks that never dry out. The word ‘jila’ is often translated by desert people as ‘living water’, indicating the importance of these sites.
Jila Japingka is a significant subject in Pike’s artwork and appears in many prints and drawings, including some of his earliest prints: Japingka Waterhole, Dreamtime story (I) and (II).
Pike also created artworks depicting the spirit who lives at Japingka. Fellow Walmajarri artist Peter Pijaju Skipper has described Japingka as:
...a rain-man who was born at Jila Japingka in the Ngarrangkarni or Dreaming, also known as “Early Days”…When the time came for Japingka to finish, he lay down in the main spring soak and transformed into a big water snake called Kalpurtu. He is still living there. He has whiskers, big ears, a black belly and a back bone like a big rock. Peter Skipper and Duncan Kentish, 1989
In the late 1980s, Pike and Pat Lowe collaborated with director John Tristram to create the documentary The Quest of Jimmy Pike (1990). Filmed at Kurlku, other locations in the Great Sandy Desert and Fitzroy Crossing the documentary captures Pike’s attempts to return to Jila Japingka with members of his family who had not visited this important site for decades. Unable to make the journey by car or on foot, Pike flew there by helicopter across the desert sand hills.