Derya Ozparlak Creates a Trio of Life-Sized Sculptures for Ontario Family, Honouring Ordinary Lives Well-Lived

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Typically, bronze sculptures are created in urban spaces to honour famous public figures. We have very special news to share about a recently commissioned project by Derya Ozparlak that achieves something quite different and unusual. This collaboration between Ozparlak and Oeno Gallery was sparked by collectors, Steven & Cheryl Holmes. 

Steven Holmes shares, “One day, while flipping through pictures with my 6-year grandson, he came across one of my deceased father. “Who is that and why does that man wear a bow tie?” he asked. I couldn’t get the encounter out of my mind, and I communicated to my wife, whose father had also died very young, so young our children never met him, we must find a way to tell our kids and grandkids about their amazing grandfathers and great grandfathers. She agreed.”

Artist Derya Ozparlak accepted the commission of two life-sized bronze sculptures, 'Stand With Me' and 'Sit With Me', which honour William Robert (Bob) Ballantyne and Rev. Robert (Bob) Davis Holmes. 

For nine months, Derya Ozparlak took up residency in a warehouse and began the process of capturing these two significant icons in life-size clay sculptures.  With nothing more than 50 images she meticulously sculpted familiar details - glasses, shoes, canes, posture. The sculptures were then cast and fabricated in bronze by RCI Studios, a foundry very close to Oeno Gallery.  


Today, they are displayed overlooking a large pond on the Holmes' property. The sculptures are strong and confident, yet warm and inviting. 'Stand With Me' invites the viewer to hold the figure’s hand and face life together. 'Sit With Me' portrays Rev. Robert (Bob) Davis Holmes’ reclining on a bench, accompanied by his signature cane necessitated by his life with polio.


Upon completion, Steven and Cheryl realized that there was an opportunity to add yet another sculpture. 'Freeing Yourself', or 'The Balloon Girl' as the Holmes' grandchildren call her, joined the duo further across the pond.  ‘Freeing Yourself’ reflected all that the Holmes family’s heritage had endured, from joy, inspiration, anticipation, surprise and even suffering. The sculpture of the woman being graciously swept upwards by a bouquet of brightly coloured balloons encompasses so much, with many possibilities for meaningful interpretation. 

 "The work Derya Ozparlak has done for our family is priceless. The stories that may best capture it was when our 4-year-old granddaughter walked up to ‘Stand With Me’, held his hand and looked up into his face and said, “Nice to meet you, my name is Ellie”.  Later the same day 3-year-old Nash jumped onto the lap of ‘Sit With Me’ and said, “See you tomorrow”. We will be forever indebted to Derya, her vision, talent and love for art and especially these sculptures.  She has done more for our family than ‘ancestry’ could ever do. We received more than we ever wanted or could have hoped for." — Steven & Cheryl Holmes

Oeno Gallery is honoured to have helped the Holmes family bring these figures to life for generations to come. 




Derya Ozparlak

Canadian sculptor Derya Ozparlak works in sculpture, mixed media and installation full-time and has brought her works to life since 2006. She graduated with a BFA in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Anadolu University in Turkey with an honours degree. She is now pursuing his second BFA at OCAD University in the area of Experimental Animation.

Ozparlak's highly detailed artworks are held in corporate, private, museum and public collections. She has participated in numerous groups, solo exhibitions, art fairs, and symposiums in Canada, France, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the US, Spain, Lebanon, Germany and Italy.

If you would like to discuss a potential commission, please contact Oeno Gallery at or call the gallery at 613-393-2216.