Sculptor’s work beats more than 100 entries

Herald Reporter

A DREAM in the making since 2010 has finally been realised for Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) alumnus Josua Strümpfer, who won in the fine art category at the annual PPC Cement Young Concrete Sculpture awards (YCSA).

The YCSA competition aims to encourage emerging artists to partake in sculpture and to use concrete as their medium.

Entrants’ concrete works are judged according to their technical excellence, conceptual strength and commercial viability.

Ever since finishing third in the same competition in 2010, Strümpfer has dreamed of taking top spot.

He came up with what he believed was a winning concept in 2011 but because of his new work commitments, was only able complete his design this year.

Strümpfer spent a full year completing his dream piece, titled Kunsarbeid, made of concrete steel and perspex. It was chosen by a team of judges from more than 100 pieces of work.

“This piece is very personal to me,” Strümpfer says, “like a monument, it testifies to my labours as a blue collar sculptor. It symbolises how I view art and the things I value the most.

“It’s a labour of love.” Of his piece, he says, “Depending on the light, dark pathways between the cement channels become illuminated.

“Similarly, sometimes our paths in life are lit and we know where to go, what to do. At other times, the path becomes dark and less clear. The only way to reach new illumination and inspiration is to keep working and walking forwards.”

With a cash prize of R50000, Strümpfer is hopeful he can begin the transition from conserving and restoring sculptures to that of becoming a professional sculptor.

“I have wanted to win for many years and finally did. I am walking on the clouds.”

PPC immediately purchased the winning entry for display in their offices.

Strümpfer received his prize earlier this month at a ceremony at the Association of Arts Pretoria.

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