The Monument to Workers – Hamilton, Ontario

Posted in On Tthe Road on May 26th, 2009 by MadDog
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I haven’t done a blessed thing since I arrived in Chatham, Illinois except eat (too much), sleep, and fool around on the computer (mostly on Facebook – it’s a stone gas, man!). So, for images, I’m going back to Hamilton, Ontario to show you a most unusual monument.

Its called the Monument to Workers. It’s located at Hamilton City Hall (Main W. and Bay Street):

Monument to Workers, Hamilton City Hall (Main W. and Bay Street)
I imagine that you can see, even without clicking to enlarge, that the figure has no head. Therein lies the interesting bit.

Of course, the monument itself is  of interest to the community. Hamilton is a steel makin’ town and has plenty of other hazardous industry. Workers die every year in Hamilton factories and many more are injured. As I was photographing, a guy rode up on a bicycle to chat with Eunie. He said that he had worked in a steel mill and had once stood beside a fellow worker and watched in horror as the man lost an arm. That’s pretty gruesome. Nobody can argue that dead and injured workers don’t deserve a fitting memorial.

What is of interest to an outside observer is why the figure has no head. It flies in the face of logic. Nobody we asked knew why. I’ve Googled it until I was blue in the face and found only this, which provides no explanation.

I don’t want to get into gory speculation, but I am puzzled. The first and most obvious question is how is the figure is hanging onto the wall without a head. Then there is the curious presence of the hook-like appendage between the shoulders. Eunie says it’s a halo. I’m not buying that. Why did the artist choose to depict it in this manner? Nobody seems to know.

I mean no disrespect whatsoever by bringing this up. I think that the monument is a marvellous idea. Casualties of our industries are seldom memorialised in such a powerful manner. I applaud it and am touched by it.

Yet, the puzzle remains.

If anybody out there knows the answer, please comment so that we may all understand.

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