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Dec 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela was a Secular Saint!

Archbishop Tutu gets smunched by me in 1990
When Nelson Mandela died last week we lost one of the great men of our time. He was a giant of
moral character, never missing a chance to appeal to the highest nature of his opponents in the Nazi-like regime of the apartheid government in South Africa. He taught us that there is always a way to turn violence and retribution into peace and forgiveness.

I feel so honored to have been part of several projects with South Africa and another of its great men, Archbishop Desmond Tutu! I met him in 1987 when one of my sculptures was presented to him at the United Methodist Global Gathering. (He became a friend of the Montana Logging and Ballet Co., wrote the liner notes on our first album, and we did several projects together over the years.) He was the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that brilliantly used forgiveness to birth the new nation of South Africa.

Both of these men– with the help of countless others, many of whom lost their lives in the struggle– liberated their people and gave the world its most liberal national constitution, even recognizing the rights of gays and lesbians. Mandela (who was opposed by the US government and ratted out to the apartheid thugs, I am crushed to say, by our own CIA in 1962!) will only grow as a legend with time. He provides an example of how truly monumental any of us can be in difficult circumstances, a reminder that our values are what we do, not what we believe. We have seen religious saints before, (I believe Tutu is one!) but secular saints like Mandela– who are motivated by goodness and truth alone– are indeed rare. And we can claim to have lived during his time! We are indeed blessed. May we take courage and live in the shadow of his example.

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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.