I Shot an Angel by Mistake


ht.:12"/30 cm

Awarded to Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the United Methodist Global Gathering in 1987.
Another copy of this sculpture remains on exhibit among the permanent collection of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Besides the world famous pacifist Gandhi, India’s struggle for independence fostered another monumental landmark of peace: the first non-violent army in history. Created by Gandhi’s friend Badshah Kahn, a Muslim from the feared Afghan tribe the Pathan, the 100,000 man army was trained as rigorously as any other except that they carried no weapons and each vowed never to kill anyone. It is because of this that they became the most effective resistance against the occupying British forces, who they threatened not with death but with transformation. Their power lay in their engaging their adversary’s humanity rather than their hate.

The power of this image pivots on the cusp in our own hearts between seeing another out of eyes of fear as an object, or out of the eyes of love as a sentient being. If this sculpture impacts you it is because you know that place in your own heart.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the architects of the new democratic South Africa, received a casting of the sculpture from the United Methodist Church at the U.M. Global Gathering in Louiville, KY, 1987. He's pictured here with Tim and the Montana Logging and Ballet Co.

Copyright 2007 Holmes Studio