Working in collaboration and as individual artists Catherine Larkins, Lennie Hayes and Frances Harrison have produced successful and recognised projects over many years.
The hallmark of these projects being engagement with community, collaboration with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists and significant local partnerships with organisations, that we hope are willing to continue the relationship as the group moves into an organisational model of operations.
Common Ground Lakes Entrance 2007
Welcome to Country by Aunty Edith Terrick
Photo: Susan Purdy
These projects include:
Bute Utes, Common
The Spirit Poles,
(2002) As part of the Bute Utes project conceived by Regional Arts Victoria, four utes were driven into sheds and panel shops in Hopetoun, Kyneton, Lakes Entrance and Rushworth. They came out transformed, worked on by many hands into sculptures which told unique stories about their communities. After local display, the Bute Utes were taken to the Victorian Art Centre and City Square and displayed as part of the 2002 Melbourne International Festival for the Arts.
Using the magpie as a symbol of territorial boundaries, family strength and community relationships, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Lakes Entrance, worked with Catherine Larkins to create a work of art with a Holden FC Ute as their collective 'canvas' - mixing painting and engraving with metalwork and basketry. The artwork is a celebration of cross-cultural collaboration and storytelling and is now part of Museum Victoria’s permanent collection.
Common Ground (2006 – 2007) On Australia Day weekend in 2007 the Lakes Entrance Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities came together to reclaim their own living culture and celebrate Common Ground. For the first time in recent history, the Elders of the Gunai/Kurnai clans welcomed thousands of people, black and white to Tatungalung country. The artwork included a temporary installation of spears and rods decorated with totems of the Gunai/Kurnai clans and bound to the footbridge using fishing rope.
Spirit Poles (2009) – Installation of The Spirit Poles outside the local Community Health Centre represented the progress that has been made towards improving reconciliation in the town, raising broad community awareness and pride in Aboriginal culture. It encouraged more Aboriginal people to access the Health services. It was the first permanent public art work representing Aboriginal culture since white settlement.
campFIRE WATERhole (2010 – 2011) A collaboration between Catherine Larkins and local Aboriginal artists Lennie Hayes and Frances Harrison created a campFIRE WATERhole at the grounds of the Lakes Entrance Community Precinct. Fire and water are important healing elements in Aboriginal culture and permanent campfire and waterhole create traditional gathering sites for the community.
Fireplace was a relocatable chimney, kangaroo skin couch and TV. The work explored the overlay of contemporary and traditional understandings of fire through stories from Gunai/Kurnai country about the timeless cycles of fire. This project was a central plank in Regional Arts Victoria’s state-wide project, Illuminated by Fire in 2010-2011.