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Meaning Within the "Hermes Rises" Statue

On February 1, 2023, the Hermes Rises statue was dedicated at the Holle Center for Excellence at the University of Alabama Center for Communications and Information Sciences. The sculpture by Leah Webb, was dedicated to Everett Holle and the Holle Family Foundation. The artist's intention was to imply a colossus, and in so doing underscore the immense importance of quality communication to every aspect of human culture and interaction.

From the Artist: Any depiction of Hermes that I have come across has small wings attached to the sandal. Clearly those wings are not doing the heavy lifting and are symbolic. As such, I granted myself permission to bring a new approach to that symbolism and opened wide the doors of my imagination. I intended to create a truly Tuscaloosan Hermes and decided to reference the earliest inhabitants.

The ‘wings’ are fashioned as feather fans used by the first Nations for both ritual and practical purposes. It might well have been akin to a sin to NOT utilize any blank surface for further symbolic imagery, and so I did. The chevrons of studs represent migrating geese in flight who remain in constant communication with one another for encouragement and to ensure that the entire flock reaches their destination. We humans would do well to take a page from their playbook.

On the right wing is a medallion of a labyrinth referring to the Greek’s walk of wisdom, a favorite of mine and, I came to learn, of Everett’s as well. The medallion on the left is a compass rose recalling Everett’s lifelong commitment to scouting and the glories of being in Nature.

Discovery is the truest delight of the creative effort, and for me, dreaming is an essential part of that process. Near the completion of the figurative portion in clay I dreamt of a curved feather wafting gently down. Over and over, what seemed like the entire night, the feather fell. While working that next morning, I realized what I was meant to understand from the dream. That is, when one gives fully to an endeavor, holds back nothing, a bit of that person is left behind to become forever bound to the endeavor itself. The fallen feather on the plinth reminds us to hold nothing back in our efforts to achieve excellence.

C&IS Unveils Hermes Rises Statue In Reese Phifer Hall. March, 6, 2023. University of Alabama College of Communication & Information Sciences.

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