New sculpture at the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre to honour Mobil Altona refinery

An exciting new project is underway to commission a sculpture by a prominent local artist to be placed in front of the centre’s art gallery.

The team at Mobil Altona and the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre have launched an exciting new project to commission a sculpture by a prominent local artist, which will be placed proudly at the front of the centre’s art gallery. 

Mobil Altona has a long-history of supporting Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre through contributions to projects that are important to the community. This sculpture will build on that relationship and honour the contributions of both the community centre and Mobil to the local community over the years.

To kick off the project, on Monday 11 July the team at Altona hosted Karen Ingram, the centre’s manager, and two artists for a tour of the site to identify scrap metals that could be used in a sculpture designed to celebrate the arts and Mobil’s contribution to the area.

The artists then submitted their expressions of interest, which included detailed concepts and designs, following which one artist was chosen to create the special piece. The artist selected was Jos Van Hulsen, a West Footscray based sculptor who has worked with upcycled industrial materials for over 30 years.

"To be awarded a commission for public sculpture is always a thrill. To have my work displayed permanently in a local public space is like icing on the cake! I am so excited to be working with the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre and Mobil to produce a sculptural work in Melbourne's west,” Jos said.

“I was delighted to be invited to check out the scrap metal in the industrial belly of Mobil itself. My work has always been concerned with exploring my deep emotional response to objects and the inherent history they imbue.”

Karen expressed her excitement about the project, which has enabled the centre to work with a local artist to provide a work of art that will be enjoyed by the Altona community for many years to come.

“We are extremely grateful to Mobil for the resources to facilitate a creative relationship with sculptor Jos Van Hulsen, the result of which will be a sculpture with an enduring presence at the front of Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre at 5 Sargood Street Altona for the enjoyment of everyone. Jos’ vision for the sculpture harnesses the history of our building, and our vision for the future as transcendence,” said Karen.

“The materials from the former Altona refinery being used in the sculpture is a great way to ensure its legacy remains a part of the community. The added value is transforming leftover industrial material from the Mobil site into sculptural work of art, which we anticipate will be a calling to people near and far, to visit yet another wonder in our community.” 

The concept behind Jos’ sculpture design was rebirth and transcendence, with the representation of birth as a metaphor for creativity and new beginnings.

“In this sculpture I will explore these ideas of rebirth and transcendence as an acknowledgement that where we stand now is an evolving space. It is a nod to our past and present whilst embracing the future," Jos said.

The sculpture is due to be completed and installed at the centre in September and will be unveiled during an event that will be attended by centre and community stakeholders as well as Mobil Altona staff.

To find out about exhibitions and programs at the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre, visit