Josh Olley wins Fisher Funds Peoples Choice Award 2018

Josh Olley, the sculptor who created ‘Fist that knew,’ has been named as the NZ Sculpture OnShore 2018 visitor favourite.

The ‘Fist that knew,’ sculpture has a powerful message behind it, which speaks to domestic violence. Being a strong, masculine fist, it ‘knew’ better than ‘fists that flew,’ a meaning that resonated with viewers. “What's in your heart you bring to life and you share it in a phenomenal way. Nga mihi aroha Kia koe mo to mahi me to aroha,” said one viewer.

The sculpture took 5 months to carve from piemontite, a glacial rock found in the Southern Alps of New Zealand that is harder than granite or marble. The only way Josh could break it down and carve the stone was to use an angle grinder with diamond blades. A self-taught artist, Josh says, “I love working with this medium because it is such a beautiful, strong and resilient rock.”

When Josh was developing the concept for the ‘Fist that knew,’ he wanted to create a sculptural piece that was a strong fit with Women’s Refuge, the main beneficiary of NZ Sculpture OnShore, and a cause that he personally relates to from his childhood.

Josh Olley says, “I wanted to speak out against domestic violence, as I experienced it in my home as a young boy. As a kid, that’s the worst thing in the world to hear in the middle of the night in your own home – your supposedly safe place.

“For me, part of being an artist is a means of standing up against things I feel are wrong in humanity, and I feel so humbled and honoured that the ‘Fist that knew’ has been voted the Fisher Funds People’s Choice Award, 2018. A big thank you to everyone who voted.”

NZ Sculpture OnShore curators, Anna Hanson and Ross Liew said they were impressed with the diversity of sculptures exhibited at this years’ show. “It’s been a privilege to work with fantastic artists this year, and to also see the ‘Fist that knew’ installed at Fort Takapuna after seeing it underway earlier in the year in Wanaka. It is impressive in its finish, poise and potency, and it is fantastic to see this recognised by visitor's to the exhibit."

Bruce McLachlan from Fisher Funds, sponsor of the NZ Sculpture OnShore People’s Choice Award said it was important to recognise the achievements of artists involved in NZ Sculpture OnShore and their support toward NZ Women’s Refuge.

“The People’s Choice Award is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to NZ Sculpture OnShore to vote for their favourite sculpture, and it represents the community coming together through the arts to support the amazing work of NZ Women’s Refuge.We are proud to be a part of it.”

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