A Monument to Hope
The Golden Tree is a breathtaking representation of the three women lost that day, forever entwined, raising their arms to enlightenment and hope.
The Tree will stand as a fitting legacy to Sarbjit Kaur Sidhu, Amarjit Kaur Bal, and Sukhvinder Kaur Punia, and as a monument to all farmworkers who have been killed or seriously injured while working to put food on our table, honoring their sacrifice.
For today’s farmworkers and their families, the monument will stand as a beacon of hope for safe and healthy working conditions in the agricultural industry, and as a reminder of the devastating consequences of cutting corners on safety.
Designed by local artists’ Dean and Christina Lauzé, the Golden Tree will be erected in a beautiful setting along the shoreline of Mill Lake in Abbotsford.
Dean and Christine are known for their unique and powerful work, including the “The Last Alarm,” a monument to BC firefighters lost in the line of duty unveiled in February 2013.
The Golden Tree is comprised of a 22’ tall, twisting apple tree that merges into three subtle female forms. Anchored by strong, thick roots, the tree rises and spreads gleaming gold limbs into a canopy of iridescent green leaves and glossy, metallic apples.
Starting from the roots, the bark of the tree will be realistic in appearance. As you look higher, the bark fades away revealing the smooth, gold upper branches of an idealized tree.
The tree will have gold burnished apples and large, translucent green leaves. The gleaming branches of the tree, combined with the semi-transparent leaves are designed to capture and refract the light, creating an environment of soft color and textured shadow. The play of color and light through the leaves and over the gilt surface is intended to convey a sense of movement, harmony and vitality.
The Tree of Life
Trees are beautiful. They grow food, provide shelter and medicine, create oxygen, and are the longest living organisms on earth. Thus, the tree (or Tree of Life) is an important symbol in nearly every culture. It is a powerful metaphor for abundance, growth and rebirth, and for the cyclical nature of life. It is nourishing, enduring and inspiring. It anchors ground to sky and represents the connection between Earth and Heaven. As such, it is a globally revered symbol of earthly sustenance and personal transformation. It is also representative of unity, community and diversity, making it an appropriate symbol to represent the Farmworkers of Canada.
The Female Trinity
The trunk of the tree twists into the figures of three women, forming what is known as a “female trinity”. The female trinity represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth. This triple aspect of womanhood comes in many forms and is an ancient and highly revered concept both historically and cross-culturally.
The female trinity is depicted in this monument as daughter, mother and matriarch. Each figure represents a different stage of life to symbolize evolving aspects of the female experience. The first woman is the youngest and depicts the feminine attributes of grace, love and beauty; the second woman represents growth, strength and vitality; while the third depicts wisdom, maturity and harmony. As the tree spirals upward, the figures change and evolve. Simultaneously united and distinct, these figures symbolize the reciprocal growth of the individual and their community.
The use of this symbolism is intended not only to commemorate the three women whose lives were so tragically lost, but also to pay tribute to the Farmworkers who help to feed and nurture the society that depends on their efforts.
Valuable and symbolically significant across the world, gold is a precious metal that denotes spiritual growth, as well as the human quest for eternity and perfection. Thus, gold is symbolic of self-purification and the transition of a soul. It is also thought to represent such attributes as life, light and providence. In the context of the Golden Tree monument, the gold leafed limbs of the figures are meant to indicate that they are reaching toward individual and social ideals.
Apple Tree & Apples
The apple tree is the world’s earliest cultivated tree and has a deep, symbolic significance that is honored worldwide. Considered to represent “useful beauty”, it is often described as a tree of eternal youth, knowledge or life. Thus, the apple is considered by some to be the fruit of the Tree of Life.
Many cultures associate the apple with love, immortality and wisdom, while golden apples have been described in myth and legend as sacred and to have symbolic significance as a divine food.
It is worth noting that although the Golden Tree features apples, until the 17th century, the word ”apple”, stemming from the Latin word “pomum”, was a generic term used to describe a wide variety of fruit. Thus, the use of apples is also intended as an oblique reference to the wide variety of products produced by our farms.
The apples are also reflective of sustenance, wealth and wisdom and are a fitting tribute to the Farmworkers whose efforts help to sustain and nurture our communities and our economy.
A Community Legacy
The City of Abbotsford is an agricultural community in its roots. The Golden Tree will be a unique and beautiful artistic addition to the community, and will provide a permanent connection to the founding industry of the city and surrounding communities.
Along with the tree itself, plaques will tell the women’s story and highlight the grueling and too frequently dangerous nature of farm work. These stories will serve as an educational tool for visitors to the park, building an understanding of the ongoing need for ever-improving health and safety conditions in the agricultural industry.
The Tree will be built with the generous support of donations from government, labour organizations, business, community groups and individual donations from people like you.