South African projects

"Welcome Home"

Robben Island is the cradle of freedom of the nation of South Africa. Because of its isolation, five miles off the shore of Cape Town, the island had been a prison for nearly 500 years, where Nelson Mandela and many political prisoners of the racist apartheid regime were incarcerated. In 1994 South Africa's free elections resulted in majority rule for the first time. The prison was subsequently closed and a small nearby chapel was slated to be turned into a peace center.

To help raise money for the project, Tim Holmes was asked to create a sculpture as a monument for the center commemorating the new nation of free and equal citizens. The sculpture, Welcome Home, is installed at the site. Some 250 000 tourists now annually visit the Island, which has been declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO. Copies of the sculpture, as well as smaller bronze studies, are available in the US.

The Archbishop's Dedication

An American sculptor, Tim Holmes, has dedicated twenty bronzes of his work, Welcome Home, to the Leper Church restoration fund. Robben Island is the cradle of South Africa’s democracy. In a land long torn by conflict, despair now yields to hope.

The work is a powerful expression of reconciliation, and a symbol that the human spirit ultimately triumphs over evil. It depicts an African mama welcoming each person into full citizenship, and South Africa into the fellowship of free nations.

Tim Holmes is a sculptor of increasing world repute. He is the only western artist to have been invited to give a solo exhibition at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is the creator of the U.N. Peace Prize for Women, and his works appear in the private collections of President Jimmy Carter, Coretta Scott King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other world leaders.

The Montana Logging and Ballet Company, a comedy and satire group of which Tim is a member has raised nearly one million US dollars in funding and scholarships for South African youth in support of Archbishop Tutu's struggle against apartheid.

“When my fellow prisoners and I were manhandled onto the ferry which took us to the Island prison, we experienced the darkest of days, epitomizing the alienation and separation of Good Friday. Little did we know that Sunday would be coming! The good news is that Sunday has come. A process of new beginning is in place, a new hope has arisen. The restoration of the Church of the Good Shepherd is a powerful symbol of rebirth of our nation.”

-- Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town, himself a former political prisoner on Robben Island.

View the sculpture

Robben Is.

Robben Island, home of the the notorious political prison where Mandela spent 26 years of his life.

.Mandela's cell

Tim presents "Olympic Africa" to Archbishop Tutu at the South African embassy. Wash. D.C. Tutu was the honorary chair of the 2004 Cape Town Olympic bid.

I Shot an Angel by Mistake

Tim presents "I Shot an Angel by Mistake" to Archbishop Tutu as a gift from the United Methodist Church at the U.M. Global Gathering in Louiville, KY, 1987. With him are the members of the Montana Logging and Ballet Co, who composed a song for the occassion.

"Olympic Africa"

On a trip to visit the site and research the project, Tim also was asked to create a sculpture to assist in Cape Town's bid for the 2004 Olympics. Olympic Africa combines the figures of a family of athletes with the shape of the African continent.
A copy of the sculpture is displayed in the International Olympic Museum in Lusanne, Switzerland. Cape Town ultimately lost the bid to Athens. Still, wherever and whenever the Olympics take up residence, the whole human family returns home for the same great celebration together.

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Archbishop Tutu with the Montana Logging and Ballet Co., 1990



Cape Times (South Africa), Mar. 7, 1997

Washington - Archbishop Tutu and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young are hopeful Cape Town will be chosen to host the 2004 Olympic Games, saying South Africa owes the world a big party for helping to end apartheid rule.

"What better opportunity for the Olympics to take place in a country which the world has helped to change," Archbishop Tutu said yesterday after receiving a sculpture, Olympic Africa, by American sculptor Tim Holmes.

Archbishop Tutu also received the Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union, the group's highest award.

Mr. Young said: "South Africa can count on the American vote. President Bill Clinton will do anything to help South Africa get the games ... the worlds needs the games in Cape Town for the 21st century."

Accepting his award, Archbishop Tutu said: "The Olympics have never been held on African soil. It will be fabulous to have the Olympics in Africa in 2004. We are going to need the support of Americans to bring the games to Africa.

"An honour that comes to me is not personal, it is representative," he said after receiving the award and the bronze sculpture aimed at helping Cape Town publicise its Olympic bid.
He said Mr. Holmes' sculpture symbolised the kind of support South Africa needed to beat the other cities and host the games.

The sculpture depicts the Olympic logo represented as four athletes, a man, woman, and a young boy and girl, carved on top of each other "as a symbol of human development."

Flanked by Mr. Young and Archbishop Tutu, Mr. Holmes said South Africa needed the Olympics to complete its miracle transition to democracy.

"Sculptures by Tim Holmes deserve being displayed in the best museums of the world." -- Mikhail Piotrovsky, Hermitage Director

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