Toronto Through My Lens

New Timothy Schmalz Sculptures

As I roam the city with camera in hand I’ve discovered one sculptor whose work appears in several places: Timothy Schmalz.

Timothy Schmalz is a prolific and gifted Canadian sculptor from St. Jacobs, Ontario. Most of his work personifies his devotion to Catholicism. Cast editions of his life-sized sculptures have been installed in major cities in front of some of the most historically significant Christian sites in the world.

Notable Work

Timothy Schmalz is best known for his Homeless Jesus sculpture he created in reaction to the many homeless living on the streets. That bronze sculpture was intended to be provocative, with Schmalz commenting: That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do. It’s meant to challenge people.

As of today, over 50 bronze casts of Homeless Jesus are installed in religiously significant and historical locations around the world from Vatican City to Capernaum, Israel to Johannesburg, South Africa to Singapore.

We are fortunate to have a copy of Homeless Jesus here in Toronto, located at the doors to Regis College, 100 Wellesley Street West. If you would like to read my post on Toronto’s Homeless Jesus, you will find it here.

When I Was Sick

During the course of one day I recently came across two new (to me) sculptures by Timothy Schmalz. The first is entitled When I Was Sick and it can be found in front of the Church of the Redeemer at 162 Bloor Street West, on the corner of Bloor Street West and Avenue Road. It was unveiled on September 24, 2023:

Let The Oppressed Go Free

The other new Schmalz sculptor I’ve discovered is entitled Let The Oppressed Go Free. This enormous sculpture is located in front of Regis College at 100 Wellesley Street West, at the corner of Queen’s Park Crescent. The work was unveiled on October 25, 2023.

Schmalz was requested by the Vatican to create a sculpture on the theme of human trafficking. The depicts former slave St. Josephine Bakhita opening a trapdoor as she frees figures that represent human-trafficking victims.

The sculpture contains almost a hundred figures representing the different faces of human trafficking including sex exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage and more. Men, women, and children, including an infant are shown to demonstrate the wide range of victims of human trafficking:

The sculpture’s inspiration and name come from the Bible passage Isaiah 58:6:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

The original of this massive bronze sculpture is installed in the Shrine of St. Bahkita in Schio, Italy.

Honourable Mention

Also of note, there is a Timothy Schmalz sculpture in front of St. Paul’s Bloor Street (227 Bloor Street East), entitled When I Was a Stranger. This piece invites pedestrians to sit on bronze stools, joining the cloaked figure of Jesus Christ. I will be publishing a future post about this sculpture, so stay tuned for that.

If you would like to learn more about the artist, Timothy Schmalz’s website is found here.

1 Comment

  1. David

    Yes his sculptures are very powerful.

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