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Utes in the Paddock Art Instillation Series 1
Utes in the Paddock - Ootha, Western New South Wales, Australia
What to do on a day off.
Today is Sunday, well here in Aussie land anyway. That means a day off, and while maybe we should have been in Church somewhere, we headed off to see an art instillation out here in western New South Wales that is a bit different.
Well, actually it is quite consistent with and connected to its local environment. So it is a bit special. It is located in a farmer's paddock, on a dusty back road, miles from any main town and hundreds of miles........ sorry, forgot we're into kilometers here (actually since 1966, so I'm showing may age), from any city. Like Sydney is about 500 ks away.
A bit of background. Australia has many icons. One is the Aussie Ute. The Ute is a unique Australian invention. The moniker "Ute" coming from the sterile but descriptive term of "Utility Vehicle". Someone, somewhere (and I haven't done a g**gle search to find out who or where) got tired of driving his Holden car around the farm and took a hammer and oxy to the back and cut the back seat and boot out to make more space for carrying things like fencing equipment, sheep, cattle, water tanks and firefighting equipment etc.
Now, we know the Americans have their Pickups, historically based around the Ford F series but we have our utes. It may have a tray but it is not a trayback, or it may have built in sides, it doesn't matter, it's a ute. And any Aussie Bloke (or Blokette) worth his (or her) salt will have one!
So, back to the Art.
This instillation is a series of Holden Utes painted by various Aussie Artists installed in various states of change and repair according to the Artists creativity.There are about 17 Utes currently installed. Some have a plaque in front which give details about the particular vehicle, the Artist and their creative thinking, some have not. We have identified each artist as known and followed the explicit instruction of "No Trespassing" where the artist's name was identified his or her work but not discernible to us on the other side of the barb wire fence. So apologies to any artist thus not identified. Other examples of this instillation will be posted at a later date.
There are a couple of instillations that will be more meaningful with a word of comment. The Drizakubra is one. The artist has taken four Aussie icons and created work every Aussie Bushie (a bloke who lives and works in the "bush" - the "bush" is anywhere outside town or the city) identifies with. Here is a Stockman (no Cowboys here) wearing his trusty Drizabone oilskin coat and his Akubra hat and carrying his stockwhip. As someone who has been a stockman droving on the longpaddock, I identify with this one!
In the work, Clancy stops the Overflow, several Aussie themes come together. Bundaberg Rum is distilled from sugarcane in North Queensland where it is grown and is as Aussie as Jack Daniels is American. Clancy was made famous by one of our greatest poets Banjo Paterson in his well know work "Clancy of the Overflow". The point being in this piece of art that Clancy saves the overflow and therefore loss of the aussie gold "bundy" which is what makes many a party a fairdinkum aussie affair.
Holden by the way, is another Aussie icon. Holden started life as a coach works, building coach bodies in the days before motor cars and then began making motor bodies from 1917. It was going well until the Great Depression, when it sought to stay afloat by selling out to General Motors and has traded in Australia as General Motors Holden ever since. The Holden FX and FJ cars and utes of the late 1930s and early 1940s were as popular here as Henry's T modles were in the US years before.
So, we had our day off and a bit of a drive around the country, about 250 ks for us. It was good to see how other farmers are going with getting this year's wheat crop in, (we finished sowing our 1200 acres last Friday!) and to see the wheat coming up and every thing starting to green up a bit after such a long dry spell. Well, back to work tomorrow!
Dags the Drover