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The artist Timothy Schmalz explains what the piece represents
“Homeless Jesus,” the remarkable bronze sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, depicts a figure lying huddled under a blanket on a 7-foot park bench with only bare, pierced feet exposed. That single feature identifies the figure as the crucified Jesus, a sacred image for all Christians. The sculpture is meant to raise awareness by keeping the needs of the poor and homeless in the public consciousness and may help to increase donations and funding for services that these organizations provide.
As a visual expression of faith, Indiana UMC Bishop Michael J. Coyner says, “The sculpture of “Homeless Jesus” reminds us of the words of Jesus that when we care for 'the least of these,' we express our concern in the spirit of Christ and we encounter Christ himself. The issue of homelessness is a complicated and multi-faceted issue here in Indianapolis, but answers to this issue must begin with the spirit of compassion and care and even shock that are elicited by this sculpture. I am grateful to Roberts Park UMC and other community partners who are making this project possible.”
Castings of the sculpture are being placed on private Christian property in cities around the world, including London, Rome, Dublin, Perth, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Chicago. Speaking about the possibility of an installation of “Homeless Jesus” in Indianapolis, Schmalz said, “To have the work in Indianapolis also symbolically connects the city with the others around the world who have found it in their heart to give the ‘Homeless Jesus’ a home.”