A Sculpture to Celebrate, Remember, and Honour
the women and men who have been injured or died while at work in and around the city of Saint John. This sculpture will be located beside the W. Franklin Hatheway Labour Exhibit Center, which is an amazing environment for this piece. Having the essentials of the natural surroundings, along with a sense of reflection we feel when near water, this space will create an environment of contemplation as well as a place to reflect and heal.
As you approach the sculpture from the road, walking towards the lake, you will see, crouching under the low end of the I-beam, the shadowy figure of a woman, which is the pivoting point of the sculpture giving it grounding and support. She joins with a second ghostly figure bent with the strain of raising the beam. These two figures represent workers who have been lost in the past. The third figure is stretching to add her support to the cause. She is a figure in transition, stepping with confidence through memory into the present. By placing her on the crate in a precarious position, our intention is to make the viewer more aware of the importance of safe work practices. The fourth figure brings us sharply into focus. This figure is pushing boundaries, achieving things beyond his reach, supporting and adding his energy to the group.
Our larger than life sculpture shows people working together in order to lift a beam into place. There is excitement and a sense of pride that is felt by a task accomplished together. There is tension, an unspoken tension that comes from doing your best to support your accepted part of the task, while not wanting to let others down. Realizing your personal boundaries you work together to accomplish the job at hand. Although facing the possibility of injury, they look beyond themselves, spurred by the vision of a city worthy of its inhabitants. Throughout history, we have pressed boundaries to achieve and expand our environments both physically and mentally.
The raised beam, uplifted by the workers, is the arm of the sundial. The sundial marks the passage of time, which lessens the impact of tragedy and injury and allows for acceptance. The morning and afternoon hours are marked on the brick plaza with different coloured bricks. The two vertical faces of the beam feature the motto of the memorial in both official languages intertwined with images of people who have been injured or lost at work. There are many kinds of injuries incurred in the work place; some of them are physical and some are emotional. The images carved in the beam reflect the ALL. The end of the beam and the pointer of the sundial is a stylized canary inspired by the memorial logo. Within the caged breast of the bird, a light is located. At night, this light would serve as a beacon and cast interesting patterns on the surrounding area. The sundial is oriented to be accurate at noon on April 28, the day chosen to honour people who have been injured or killed at work, “Day of Mourning.”
At the point where the beam is anchored to the ground, a stylized rippled brick patio spreads in concentric circles, echoing a disturbance on the lake surface, which also reminds us that the greatest effect is at the point of impact. This loss or injury is felt most immediately by the person and family. As the ripple moves outward, the effect lessens until it becomes calm. This feature echoes and suggests the healing that happens with the passage of time.
The ensemble becomes a worthy symbol of our heritage; a community effort of labour and sacrifice built on the achievement of those who have gone before us. We look forward to working with the committee and industry professionals as we all direct our energies to bring this monument to completion.
This sculpture shown here in its clay state is a combined effort between artist, Darren Byers & Fred Harrison. The sculpture cast in bronze at Kalispell Art Casting was unveiled on April 28th 2011 in Saint John New Brunswick at the Lilly Lake pavilion, to a crowd of over 400 people. It was an emotional day as many families and friends laid wreathes to remember those who have been killed while at work. Below are a few photos taken that day. One is with the committee that worked tirelessly to see this through and they were an amazing group of people to work with.