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A sculpture by Josh Olley, of Luggate, has been named as the New Zealand Sculpture OnShore 2018 visitor favourite.

Sculpture OnShore curators Anna Hanson and Ross Liew said the sculpture Fist that knew had a powerful message about domestic violence behind it

Being a strong, masculine fist, it “knew” better than “fists that flew,” a meaning that resonated with the viewers.

“What’s in your heart you bring to life and you share it in a phenomenal way,” they said in a press release.

“Nga mihi aroha Kia koe mo to mahi me to aroha,” one viewer said.

The sculpture took five months to carve from piedmontite, a glacial rock found in the Southern Alps that is harder than granite or marble.

The only way Mr Olley could work the stone was to use an angle grinder fitted with diamond blades.

“I love working with this medium because it is such a beautiful, strong and resilient rock.”

When Mr Olley 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 New Zealand Sculpture OnShore and a cause he personally related to from his childhood.

“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.”

The curators said they were impressed with the diversity of sculptures exhibited at this year’s 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, Auckland after seeing it under way earlier in the year in Wanaka.

“It is impressive in its finish, poise and potency, and it is fantastic to see this recognised by visitors to the exhibit,” they said.