Tree of Life
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By Kristi Duckworth

Tree of Life

By Kristi Duckworth


I designed the Tree of Life mosaic for the Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park in Memphis, Tenn. The park is one of two dozen in the U.S. and Canada that are funded by the R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation to encourage and celebrate survivors.

One of the reasons I wanted to be involved with the design of the Memphis park is that many people in my life have had cancer. Among them are my mother, Murline Whitfield, and my very good friend Betty Rohrbacher, who died of the disease.

I painted the individual tiles of the Tree of Life mosaic with help from cancer survivors and their families. The tree represents a person’s heart, while the labyrinth at the tree’s roots represents the soul. The dark side of the mural reveals what lies under the ground, including the subconscious—those things that sometimes scare us. But worms are also in the earth, working the soil and feeding the tree.

The tree’s roots draw sustenance from the underground subconscious, which nourishes the tree—and a person’s spirit. The lotus flower sprouting from the center of the tree shows transformation—how something beautiful can come up out of the muck.

To see the Tree of Life artwork, please refer to the print magazine.

For more information about the R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, please visit www.blochcancer.org or call the Bloch Cancer Hotline at 1-800-433-0464 or e-mail hotline@hrblock.com.