IT is rare for an art icon to originate from prison and somehow end up with an exhibition in the same prison more than 30 years later.
Painting up until his death in 2002, indigenous artist Jimmy Pike – sentenced to life in Fremantle Prison in 1981 for killing a man – will have his artwork on display and the very prison in which he was incarcerated with the exhibition Desert Psychedelic: Jimmy Pike.
The exhibition follows Pike’s journey from joining his first art class in prison and making a number of paintings and prints before moving on to producing textile designs and a number of fashion items.
Fremantle Prison acting curator Isa Menzies said the exhibition was significant in showing Pike’s talent and variety.
“When Jimmy Pike was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981, no one could have guessed that a global design icon would be the result,” she said.
“Serving time in Fremantle Prison, Jimmy began taking art classes on offer and it was from there that the Desert Designs brand was born.”
Menzies said having the exhibition at the prison allowed them to interpret not only the prison’s history but also Pike’s.
“An exhibition like this highlights the positive outcomes of one man’s prison experience because his art was able to reach a whole new level of visibility,” she said.
“The Desert Designs label brought Aboriginal art and design into the homes of countless Australians through its application to contemporary fashion.”
Desert Psychedelic: Jimmy Pike is at the Fremantle Prison until August 19.