When Angela’s inspiration came to her, it was a revelation. We all know her as a world-class sculptor. Her work takes us beyond her considerable technical skill to the realm of the heart. When we contemplate her finished work, we feel something. Most often - it’s joy. Hope. A lightness of being. Her sculpture may represent a moment frozen in time, but it’s alive. And it tells a story.
Angela Mia de la Vega prefers not to say too much. She would rather that her art speak for itself. But in the case of Lift Her With Butterflies, Angela well remembers when the vision became real, and crystal clear; what some might call an epiphany.
She has always wished that her work would inspire others, particularly the young. She wants them to appreciate and engage in the creative process, in whatever form. From experience, she knows that the practice of crafting something beautiful can bring purpose and meaning, healing and hope. Her heart breaks for those who have suffered all sorts of cruelty, whether it be domestic abuse or human trafficking or the systemic effects of poverty, neglect and scarcity. For those who suffer disability and serious illness, she wants her work to bring a healthy measure of delight and comfort.
Late one night, Angela imagined a lonely girl, lost in her thoughts, surrounded and then lifted into the air by a loving and determined collection of colorful butterflies. In that vision, the young lady would reach for the heavens in wonder and anticipation, swept up by a celebration of flight. Lift Her With Butterflies was imagined, and then in Angela’s studio, from a plain lump of clay, given birth.
When in her hometown in Alabama, little Katie Bevis was diagnosed with a serious cancer at age seven, her devastated parents launched an aggressive program of therapies in concert with the finest team of physicians they could find. It was an eight-year-long, arduous journey. Through it all, Katie fought nobly, and never lost her precious faith, that little girl smile or her giggles and hugs. Then at age fifteen, she succumbed to the ravages of the disease. Her grieving parents joined family, close friends and the medical team by her side to bid a painful farewell.
It was about that time that her parents came across Angela’s Lift Her With Butterflies. They recognized Katie’s smile and outstretched arms in the sculpture; and later told Angela what healing and sweetness the sculpture brought them in their grief. You guessed it, Katie loved butterflies; reveling in their flight and freedom.
Mr. and Mrs. Bevis heartily agreed. As a memorial to Katie, as a thank you to the amazing, tireless work of the hospital staff, and as a prized work of art at the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile Alabama, her friends and family acquired and installed a life-sized Lift Her With Butterflies for all to see and enjoy.
Angela was invited to participate in the dedication of the Memorial on March 25 of this year.
All of us, as Friends of Flite, celebrate the unveiling of this beautiful piece in Memory of young Katie Bevis, who will live long in the memory of all who knew her.
Director of Communications
Flite to Freedom