"Angels" by Jammie Holmes depicts two Black figures in the act of religious cleansing and is part of a series of works that focuses on adult baptisms. For Holmes, the figures shown in these moments are asking for, and are receiving, forgiveness. Drawing from personal experience, Holmes’ felt that his own baptism as an adult was purifying; a way for him to once again commit himself and his life to something greater.
Brown sparrows encircle the figures and Holmes often refers to brown sparrows as angels because they remind him of the sanctuary of his Grandmother’s backyard. Holmes has fond memories of the yard being lush and full of roses as well as sparrows which seemed to be attracted almost exclusively to her backyard in the community of Thibodeaux, Louisiana. The yard provided a place of peace for Holmes and his family. Visitors to this garden knew that the space was sacred and could provide a reprieve from the family’s daily struggles.
The portrait depicted on the figure’s T-shirt is of Holmes’ cousin, who had a strong influence in
Jammie’s life and who has since passed. The inclusion of his portrait throughout Holmes’s work
is a way for the artist to remember his cousin and pay homage to his life.