The Bute Ute 2002
In 2002 Regional Arts Victoria commissioned four Victorian artists to turn a Ute into a work of art, the theme was ‘the secret of our town’. Lakes Entrance artist Catherine Larkins saw racially motivated street violence as her town’s secret. The Aboriginal fable of ‘The Sky Raising Magpies’ inspired the idea of working together to overcome territorial boundaries, build family strength and foster reconciliation. Catherine engaged Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists from within her community to use an FC Holden Ute as their collective 'canvas'. The artists used a wild mix of materials and techniques including paint, embroidered upholstery, metal engraving by Gunaikurnai artist Derek Hayes and traditional basketry by Bidawal weaver Elaine Terrick. The Sky Raising Magpie Ute was then exhibited at the 2002 Melbourne International Festival as a celebration of cross-cultural collaboration and storytelling. It is proudly displayed in Bunjilaka as part of Museum Victoria’s permanent collection.