Sculptor adds emotional piece to Belgium

Vicky Hinger has a special tie to “Immigration” unveiled during Luxembourg Fest
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

It was fitting that artist Vicky Hinger created the sculpture in the Belgium Village Square that serves as a tribute to Luxembourg immigrants.

She is one.

The metal sculpture was unveiled and blessed Saturday morning at Luxembourg Fest.

The connections don’t stop at immigration for Hinger, who flew in from her home in Venice, Fla., for the event.

The artwork is in part an honor to her grandfather Victor Hinger, who was a wood sculptor in Luxembourg and created angels that still adorn churches in the country.

“There’s where my fascination for wings came from,” Hinger said.

Wings on Hinger’s piece represent power and protection through faith.

“If you don’t have your faith, everything is going to fall,” Hinger said.

In front of the wings is a father holding his family together to represent “the family bond, the courage it takes to leave your country behind — little old Luxembourg — and come to this vast country,” Hinger said.

That’s exactly what she did in moving to New York City in 1992 to study art. She wanted to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and carve wood.

Dry wood wasn’t available due to a blizzard, but rocks were plentiful.

“That’s how I ended up working in stone,” Hinger said.

For the immigration piece, she started working with wood in Madison, Ind. Working with a foundry in Sarasota, Fla., near her home was going to take too long to meet the deadline with a stone piece.

She cut the piece out in Indiana and took it home to carve. It took her more than two months to make the piece.

A mold was made of the original before it was dunked in a cement solution and bronzed at the foundry. The wings were cast in three different pieces and weigh 350 to 400 pounds.

She went to the foundry every day to make sure the process was done correctly and the piece looked good. The bronzing went well.

“It was like a magician welded it together. I couldn’t even see a seam,” she said.

“The foundry was so pleased with the patina (colorization of the bronze through oxidation). They were going to hire me.”

Hinger was excited that she was even asked to create a piece about immigration. Kevin Wester, known as an authority on all things Luxembourgish who runs tours to the country and leads the dual-citizenship process, and Mike Ansay, honorary consul of Luxembourg in Wisconsin, approached Hinger about creating a sculpture.

“Me being a sculptor and an immigrant at the same time — what an honor,” she said.

“It’s a very emotional piece for me.”

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich from Luxembourg blessed the sculpture.

“Having the cardinal there and such an incredible warm welcome for all the people from Belgium ­— I’m still in awe,” Hinger said. “Just beautiful. I was very moved by everybody.”

Hinger was surprised by her cousin Robert Maquil, who flew over from Luxembourg for the ceremony.

Wester knew Hinger through creating a sculpture 15 years ago for an award ceremony in New York City for a program through the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. that encourages American companies to do work in Luxembourg.

Hinger has been chosen to do a sculpture for this year’s award ceremony in November as well. The company being honored this year is DuPont de Nemours, which Hinger said made masks, jumpsuits and shields during the pandemic.

She isn’t at liberty to disclose what that sculpture will be, but in the meantime people may enjoy “Immigration” in Belgium.

Hinger also makes jewelry. For more information, visit victorinehinger.com.

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