‘Let the Oppressed Go Free’, a bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz, which is temporarily on display here in St Patrick’s Pontifical University. Schmalz is well known for his other sculptures, such as ‘Homeless Jesus’ which has been reproduced in many cities around the world including Dublin, and ‘Angels Unawares’ which was installed in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican in 2019.
Schmalz aim is to raise awareness through public art. The statue features St. Bakhita releasing a host of human trafficking victims from the ‘underground’, thus letting them be seen and to be free. St. Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. An independent and comprehensive 2021 study found that from 2014-2019, the true number of human trafficking victims in Ireland was approximately 38 percent higher than the official national statistics.
Pictured is President of St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Rev Prof Michael Mullaney discussing the history and significance of the sculpture with SPPU students Aoife Ryan and Eimear Faulkner.