A hand-carved wooden turkey has been stolen.
A hand-carved wooden turkey has been stolen. Mackay Regional Council

Mackay artwork stolen from public exhibition

WHITSUNDAY-BASED artist Andriaan Vanderlugt says his trust has been violated after someone stole a hand-carved sculpture of a bush turkey.

The wooden turkey had roosted outside the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre since 2013 - until it was recently plucked by a thief.

"I have done a few public artwork exhibitions. I give trust to the community that they respect it and they return that trust, but that trust has now been violated by someone stealing it,” he said.

"It is artwork, it talks to the people and it has had such a wonderful response from the community, these people are stealing part of the community spirit.

"There is nothing the artwork has done to anyone except to raise the spirits of the community.”

The Dutch-born, Canadian-raised Whitsunday resident said he hoped whoever had stolen the turkey would return it in one piece.

"Hopefully someone is so embarrassed that they bring it back tonight,” he said. "I just installed the last one in September.”

Mr Vanderlugt's sculptures of animals, birds and fish are shown in collections around the world. He first exhibited a sculpture in 1970 and has been carving out of bone, stone, wood, marble and metal for more than 40 years.

In 1997 he was commissioned to create the furniture for the new chapel on Hayman Island.

If anyone has information about the artwork, contact Police Link on 131444.