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Statue Grace Unveiling

Statue Grace, a timeless piece of contemporary art by renowned local sculptor Helena Vogelzang, was unveiled on Saturday, 13 August at St Mary’s DSG, Kloof.

Grace, a life-size statue made of bronze butterflies, is a St Mary’s Foundation initiative. Their role is to transform lives through the provision of financial support for girls whose lives will be changed by the education they receive through the bursary programme. One can donate R 1 000 to sponsor a butterfly and make a difference to a young girl’s life. Each donor’s name will be listed on the bronze plaques mounted on the base of the statue.

Sculptor, Helena Vogelzang, was very emotional as Grace was unveiled, she said when creating the statue she looked to nature, “butterflies and girls seemed to perfectly merge as they transition from one state to another,” she added. “Grace, I realised, is unique to this school and has taken a form of her own, in a way she is not by my hands. She is multifaceted and reflective,” Vogelzang said.

Principal, Jonathan Manley said, “Grace would not be here if it were not for many, many people working together. She will be here for generations to come and will be a character within our society.”

Statue Grace according to Metja Ngoasheng, Grade 11

“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water...'Time' for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” ― Roman Payne

Grace stands East- facing, waiting for the first signs of daybreak as she looks up at the new day approaching. As the sun rises, she is sun-kissed by the promises of life and as it sets, the sun shines through her creating a golden mirage- she is ethereal. 

The statue Grace, a new sister in the St Mary’s family, stands proud- made entirely of butterflies that accentuate her frame- she is unearthly yet as real as you and me. Our school motto is “Inspired girls...Remarkable women” and for the first time we have a physical representation of what these words truly mean; the metamorphosis of a young girl into a mature and independent woman similar to the process a caterpillar undertakes in becoming a butterfly. It is in this way that St Mary’s allows us to flourish and succeed in an environment that embraces the challenges that may come and encourages us to find our place in the world. 

It was by the grace of God and the grace of others that the school was able to present the statue as the symbol of the aid the school would grant in giving young girls, with aspirations as big as mine, the opportunity to say that they attended a school that helped them become “remarkable”. As a young woman it’s empowering to see the statue celebrate the female form. Her ‘nakedness’ encourages a sense of freedom and confidence in women who live in a society that often degrades the worth of women and the beauty and sanctity of their bodies.

I had the privilege of attending the unveiling of Grace. The sculptor, Helen Vogelzang, shed tears of sorrow and joy as on that day she was entrusting her “daughter” into the hands of St Mary’s. The statue not only held value and meaning to Ms Vogelzang’s life but to the lives of the women who are proud to have walked the halls of Henley, to have sung in the chapel and who have made memories on this campus. 

Grace is a living legacy that will be forever cherished.

Watch our video to find out more.

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