Artist: Tony O’Malley Supported by Eircom & Pierce Contracting Ltd. Eternal Flame sponsored by Bord Gáis. The Healing Hands is a hollow bronze hand patterned sphere contain- ing an eternal flame and supported on a squat tree-trunk style pedestal. It was erected in 2000 to celebrate the third millennium of the birth of Christ. This sculpture is intended to symbolise the healing ministry of Christ which continues through the care of the staff of the neighbour ing Mater Hospital which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1861.
The eternal flame symbolises the everlasting love of God. The commission came from the Mater Hospital and the artist worked with a team to decide upon a mutually agreeable design. The piece was created in a studio in Tipperary in two parts: the trunk and the sphere, and then transported to Bronze Art foundry in Dublin to be cast. The handprints that make up the sphere which contains the flame were gathered by the artist from patients and staff in the hospital. The sculpture received a lot of positive feedback from patients and staff, having their handprints incorporated in the design reflecting the part they all play in the pro- cess of healing. Originally from Tipperary, Tony O’Malley is an Irish artist based in West Cork. His career as an artist spans 23 years, from early work with wood sculpture at the New York Flower show in 1990 and subsequent awards at RHA Annual Exhibitions. In 1995 he won the Amnesty International Art Competition for Dublin City Centre which resulted in the creation of Universal Links for Human Rights off Amiens Street, a sculpture which directly influenced the creation of The Healing Hands. Since then he has concentrated on Public Art with several commissions in Ireland. Awarded an MA in Arts & Heritage in 2009 with distinction in participatory arts, he continues to develop participatory designs using a per- son-centric approach that allows artworks to evolve from relationships formed. Using any media deemed appropriate for a given context, his work engages a universal theme of interconnectedness in the environment and the natural world with emphasis on relationships.