Jimmy Pike

Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW)

Increasingly work by third-world artists is being included in the dialogue on where art may be heading in the aftermath of this Eurocentric age. The series “Artists of the World” has been launched with the show entitled “Jimmy Pike—Paintings from the Great Australian Sand Desert.” Pike is an Australian aboriginal, from a nomadic family that settled down to work a cattle ranch. In 1980, after killing a man in a fight, Pike was sentenced to life imprisonment. In prison, he began making art under the guidance of two teachers. Adopting the imagery of his ancestors, he tied it to Western techniques: acrylic on canvas, drawings, linotypes, and—after being paroled in 1985—silk screens.

Historically, the concept of “artist” did not exist for the aborigines. The closest equivalent to the artist was the magician, who performed rituals to ensure the survival of society. For this reason many of the

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