South African Projects
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.
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.
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 Africas 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 US$1 million in funding scholarships for Archbishop Tutu, and in support of the 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.
See the Welcome Home