Olympic Africa

- commissioned for the Cape Town 2004 Olympic Bid

ht.: 12"/30 cm

In 1994 the nation of South Africa participated in its first free election in its 500-year history, including the voice of the Black majority of the population.  While on a trip to Cape Town for another project I was asked to create a sculpture to honor the human development idea behind the African olympic bid.

Capitalizing on world attention, Cape Town bid to host the 2004 Olympic Games using the theme of "human development", focused in part on decommissioning a military base for the site of the Olympic village and developing the sprawling townships that surrounded it, which were then without any basic services.  I jumped at the request to create a sculpture to commemorate this effort.  The African continent has yet to be chosen to host the Olympics. 

The sculpture depicts on one side the African continent– made up of stripes representing different peoples– and on the other a family of four athletes, one of whom is somewhat hidden, a soccer player kicking a ball which represents Cape Town, on the other 'map' side.  I presented the first bronze sculpture to Archbishop Desmond Tutu at a special ceremony for him at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Other bronzes were sold to raise funds, and castings given to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

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. Let the games begin!

Tim Holmes presents Olympic Arica to Archbishop Tutu, Wash. DC, 1997

Cape Times (South Africa) article on Archbishop Tutu presentation

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