Tim Holmes and 'Unfolding Flight'

Dylan Brown Independent Record

Tim Holmes was recently commissioned to create a bronze sculpture to be used as Freedom to Create’s Leadership Award for Women. The sculpture, ‘Unfolding Flight,’ which Holmes is holding above and can be seen in greater detail below, was presented to the award’s inaugural winner last week in South Africa.

The work of Helena artist and sculptor Tim Holmes has honored transformational people around the world, from South African activist Nelson Mandela to the students involved in the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

Last week in Cape Town, South Africa, a piece of his was honored as part of the Freedom to Create Leadership Award for Women, presented by the international organization Freedom to Create, established in 2006. The award celebrates the work of women who have tackled social challenges with innovative approaches.

This year, the award went to Dr. Cynthia Maung, a Burmese woman forced to flee her village during a violent government crackdown, and who now operates a clinic near the Thailand Burma border serving more than 150,000 patients a year including refugees, orphans and aid workers. Maung also received $25,000.

The bronze, entitled “Unfolding Flight,” depicts a female angel building her own wings in preparation for flight. Like much of Holmes’ work, it captures a feeling of power and motion in the otherwise cold, dark metal.

He said the award organizers approved his final design barely a day before he had to take a finished clay prototype of the work to a foundry in Bozeman where the piece was cast. He sent it to organizers in Singapore who carried it to the presentation in Cape Town.

Holmes is a longtime member of the Montana Logging and Ballet Company, a political satire troupe that has helped raise nearly $1 million for South African youth scholarships in support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s battle against apartheid.

In 1997, Holmes created a sculpture, “Welcome Home,” now installed on Robbin Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were incarcerated during apartheid.

He’s also created art that has been awarded as part of the United Nations Peace Prize for Women, the Physicians for Social Responsibility Peace Prize and several others.

“Human development is probably my overall theme,” Holmes said. “I’m a person who wants to make the world a better place.”

On Dec. 8, Holmes will open his studio at 446 North Hoback Street for a public “performance/installation” tackling “Duende,” an elusive concept from the Iberian cultures.

“It’s not so much a style or subject as it is a context in which art is created: in the shadow of death,” he said in an announcement of the event. “It is a kind of awareness of the beauty and transcendence of life within that dark framework.”

Holmes, who recently returned from two years in Vienna, Austria, said it’s the time of year when Austrians honor a devilish creature named Krampus, a counterpart to St. Nicholas. Krampus is a horned, hairy beast who scares the evil out of people before St. Nicholas arrives to save the day.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the presentation starting at 6:30 p.m. and discussion and refreshments to follow. Admission is $8. Call 442-4233 for more information.

Reporter Sanjay Talwani: 447-4086 or sanjay.talwani@helenair.com

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