Sheetmetal Industry Association / Salvagnini-Machinery Forum Sculpture of the Year Awards 2011

The Sheetmetal Industry Association’s Sculpture of the Year Awards began in 2003, and is now in its 8th year. This year’s competition launch was held at The MLC Centre in Sydney, showcasing the works of the 10 finalist nominees from high schools across Australia.

The Awards are an industry initiative set in conjunction with the SIA/TAFE Apprentice Awards. The criteria include the design and creation of a primary metal based sculpture. This year the competition had 52 nominees from 8 schools - almost double the amount of entries from 2010.

The competition aims to encourage high school students to take further interest in, and engage with vocational education and skills training as viable future career options. Entrants come not only from Industrial arts, but also Visual Arts backgrounds.

Colin Johnsen, Managing Director of FJP Manufacturing PTY. Limited, believes the awards bring great kudos to the industry:

“From its humble beginnings, these sculpture awards have continued to surpass our expectations with this year’s entrants showing impeccable talent ..... What started as a desperate attempt to raise awareness of our beloved sheet metal industry, stepped up another notch this year with fantastic entries that not only show off great artistic flare, but encourage us to believe in the talent of our upcoming youth. From an industry with major skill shortages, it is uplifting to witness the sculptors’ talent while bringing the awareness to our industry.”

The response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive- from sponsors and patrons, TAFE, teachers, students, and the general public- and this is evidenced by the growing number of entries into the competition each year. The works of the ten nominees are displayed in the foyer of the prestigious MLC building in the heart of the Sydney CBD, with some works being bought for thousands of dollars by members of the general public. This kind of exposure adds extra incentive for the contestants, and the competition allows the students an industry standard benchmark to aim towards.

According to Ariel Sartoretto, winner of last year’s Senior Nominee Award and a finalist in this year’s competition, the program has opened up a wide range career paths that she would not have considered had she not been encouraged to enter the competition.

The awards for this year’s competition were announced on Friday night (3rd June 2011) at the Gala Dinner at Doltone House, Sydney.

The winner of the Salvagnini-Machinery Forum Sculpture of the Year award (open category) was Curtis Schaefer of Henry Lawson High School (Year 10) with his sculpture ‘Fighting for Peace’. The winner in the junior category was Will Cassim of Braidwood Central School (Year 8) with his sculpture ‘Pighunting’.

VJ Thomas Greader