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100 Workers

100 Workers

John Scott

Stewart H. Pollock
b. 1954

100 Workers
  • Granite wall featuring bronze plaques
  • 2000
  • 17.6 m x 0.5 m
  • Simcoe Park, 200 Front Street West, Toronto

About the artwork

100 Workers, aka WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) Simcoe Park Workers Monument, is a monument commemorating the workers of Ontario who died in the workplace, by John Scott and Stewart H. Pollock. Featuring 100 plaques throughout the work, each plaque along the top of the wall commemorates one person, one from each year between 1901 and 1999. Deaths are from mining accidents, industrial accidents, train crashes, silicosis, asbestosis, and other deadly hazards of the working force in the 20th century. At the end, there is one blank plaque to represent future accidents as workers continue to experience unsafe working conditions.

About the artist

John Scott views himself as a political activist and blue-collar artist. His work combines counterculture aesthetics of the late 1970s and the 1980s with a sociological ideology that is wary of the consequences and human cost of a capitalist ethos and economy. Through drawings, installations and transformed objects, Scott presents an apocalyptic vision of a world ravaged by war and threatened by destruction. Perhaps Scott’s best-known work, Trans-Am Apocalypse No. 2 (1993) is a black, modified Pontiac Trans-Am that has text scratched into its surface from the Bible’s Book of Revelations of St. John the Evangelist. Scott’s intent was to suggest that, if the apocalyptic horsemen were to appear today, the muscle car would be a more impressive vehicle for their arrival. Scott considers the car’s substantial link to a macho masculine identity, suggesting that the car is symbolic of flaws of the male sex, which may drive humanity to destruction. As cars also generate pollution, he sees environmental damage as another step toward an apocalyptic world.

Fun facts

  • Off to the side of the art installation, is a statue of a kneeling worker in safety gear, chiseling into the wall. It’s titled The Anonymity of Prevention created by Derek Lo and Lana Winkler.

Engagement questions

  • How does this work make you feel?
  • How do you engage with the subject of the work?