Local artist wins prestigious sculpture award

Jos Van Hulsen with his sculpture 'Random Statistics' (Supplied)

By Molly Magennis

A West Footscray artist has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Montalto Sculpture Prize.

Jos Van Hulsen has been a sculptor for over 30 years, and after having entered the competition five times before, has finally taken home the top prize for his work ‘Random Statistics’.

Van Hulsen will take home $40,000 and will have his sculpture on display at the Montalto winery until May 1, 2022.

Van Hulsen said he didn’t expect to win the prize but was over the moon about his achievement.

“I’m just happy to be part of this show because they get a lot of exposure, it always does give me a bit of credit, but to be picked out as a winner … it just blew me away,” he said.

“Of course the money will make a huge difference to my projects and life but it’s more … it’s the validation, because sculpting is such a solo pursuit you do it for yourself So it’s nice to get that sort of validation because you know I’ve been doing it for the last, since the 80’s when I finished at school, so it’s nice to win something.”

‘Random Statistics’ is made out of recycled distance counters from the Victorian railway, acting as a memorial to distances and statistics.

On top of the tower is a weather vane which represents the randomness of life, particularly in a COVID world.

“They [distance counters] have a real sense of history about them, some have got minor bullet holes in them,” Van Hulsen said.

“Art speaks for itself and it’s so subjective. There was a lot of thought put into it.”

Van Hulsen will be hosting A solo exhibition on February 6, 2022, at Post Industrial Design, West Footscray, focusing on found objects.

“I will find really ridiculous things but when I look at them and maybe sort of photograph them or use them in my sculptures, there’s beauty in stuff like that.”