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Feb 19, 2009

St. Agatha, the Goddess of Sicily

Catania, Sicily is the site of a centuries-old religious festival that is now one of the largest in the world.  Being there was a real treat and gave one a sense of how primal this 3-day annual ritual is, the deep roots of which are obscured. It is ostensibly dedicated to St. Agatha, a 3rd C. Christian martyr, but the Christian dressing is just a thin veneer laid over an ancient pagan celebration of the Goddess.  Huge gilded 'candelora' are hefted through the streets by teams of burly men, followed by a huge, elaborately decorated silver baldachin, containing the saint's reliquaries, and then a procession of enormous candles that lasts all night.  Thousands of people crowd the streets, many devotees dressed in simple white robes, to revel and plead for intersession.  St. Agatha and her rivers of candles pouring through the streets protects the people from nearby Mt. Etna, whose rivulets of hot lava we could see burning in the night far behind the city.
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.