In 2016, the Vatican New Department Of Refugees And Migration requested that sculptor Timothy Schmalz create a new sculpture on the theme of refugees and migration.
On the 26th of April 2017, the original small model was blessed by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square and the larger version of the work was confirmed to be permanently installed in St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome.
The inspiration of the work arises from a passage from Hebrew 13:2 found in the New Testament: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”.
The sculptural work interprets this belief that there is to be found the sacred in the stranger, in terms of the refugee and migrant people. The work depicts migrants and refugees from all cultural and racial backgrounds and from all historic periods of time together – shoulder to shoulder on a raft or boat. Within this diverse crowd of people, angel wings are visible in the center, suggesting that within the migrant and refugee is the sacred.
Through the use of ancient scripture, contemporary and historical figures, and a universally held symbol of spirituality, the work truly is relevant to the Vatican as well as cities around the world that strive to emphasize that all life is sacred and should be treated as such.
Featured Works, Large Religious Statues, Other