In an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, Master sculptor Gaylord Ho, Sculptor of Emotions, presented his unpublished sculpture “Grace Leads Me Home.” to the Pope for recognition of the Pope’s 80th birthday and in celebration of the Pope’s second anniversary of his Papacy. The artwork is a guardian angel overlooking a happy family. The angel is standing with her arms outstretched; the wind in her hair and robe. In one hand she holds an olive branch seeking peace and harmony in the world and in the family. In the other, she holds a wheat sheaf asking for abundance for all the people of the world. Doves fly around her bringing peace and happiness to all.
This sculptural symbolism is Gaylord’s way of wishing protection, peace, happiness and abundance to all the people of the world. He wanted to offer this sculpture to Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of the high position in the world that he holds and the ideals that he has put forth in his two years in Papacy. Gaylord felt that the family symbol was important to Pope Benedict since the Pope included a married couple and their child in his inaugural Mass. Normally every cardinal submits to the Pope during this Mass but Pope Benedict changed the custom by including many levels of clergy and a family. Pope Benedict has further solidified his standing as the Pope of the people by riding in an open topped Papal car thereby being more accessible to his followers.
Besides his own inner inspiration, Gaylord’s “Grace Leads Me Home” sculpture was partly inspired by Ghiberti’s “Gates of Paradise” in Florence.
Because of the size of the artwork, the presentation was held on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica in front of tens of thousands of people who had gathered for his Wednesday blessings.
Pope Benedict was very taken with the angel and by Gaylord’s talent and heart felt interest in bringing joy and peace to all the people of the world with his sculptural art.
Gaylord was impressed with the gentleness and kindness that he could feel from the Pope. Gaylord feels that Pope Benedict is a very genuine person with a very real concern for people all over the world.
With this acceptance, Gaylord becomes one of a handful of artists ever to be honored by the Holy See in this way and is thrilled to have his sculpture displayed in the Vatican along with the artwork of the greatest artists of the world from all eras; i.e. Michelangelo and Rafael.
Interview with Gaylord Ho, “Sculptor of Emotions”
Gaylord, this is such a great honor for you and a wonderful recognition of your artwork. What led up to this event?
There was an art exhibit being held at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall in Taiwan by the Fu Jen Catholic University. The exhibit was entitled “Art and Religion – A special exhibition of Italian paintings from the Golden Ages”. The exhibit was artwork from the Vatican Museum collection.
I thought that this art exhibit was a very good idea and offered several of my sculptures to be auctioned to benefit the show and the University. At the opening of the art exhibit I met the former Taiwan ambassador to the Vatican. The ambassador was very impressed with my sculptures and he put things into motion for the gift to the Pope.
I am very excited to have my sculpture in the Vatican with such masterful and famous artists as Michelangelo and Rafael. It is my great pleasure to have the opportunity to offer my art as the Pope’s birthday present.”
What were your thoughts about this particular piece of art for the Pope’s gift?
“These days every person and family suffers from tension caused by a busy life and an ever more complex world. Although science and technology bring us progress in many areas of our lives; it also robs us of our peace of mind and tranquility.
“Grace Leads Me Home” is a loving angel who offers peace, tranquility and abundance to those who view her. It was my hope that this angel, through the Pope’s blessing could bring good fortune to all mankind.
It is my hope that we can all recover our innocence and compassion, live in families filled with harmony and love and that the world can have everlasting peace.”
What did you say to the Pope during your meeting?
“I said that it was my honor to be at the Vatican City in Rome and to present him with my most appropriate art, “Grace Leads Me Home”, for the celebration of his 80 birthday and his second anniversary in the Papacy. I let him know that I had studied art at the university and realized that religion and love are very important topics in Western art. My sculpture, “Grace Leads Me Home”, puts love and peace together in one subject.
I present this work of art to Your Holiness in celebration of your birthday and I wish for mankind a world with peace and happiness.”
What was the Pope’s reaction to your gift?
The Pope seemed very impressed with the sculpture and the message that “Grace Leads Me Home” conveys. He stood for a very long time studying the image and smiling. I think he likes it very much.”