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Abbotsford artist publishes illustrative book of local history

Manjit Sandhu’s new book pays tribute to those who contributed to creating city
Cover of Lest We Forget What Our Eyes Have Seen, a book by Abbotsford artist Manjit Sandhu.

Abbotsford’s history has been brought to life in the new book, Lest We Forget What Our Eyes Have Seen.

The book comes from Manjit Sandhu, the local artist who conceptualized the raspberry vine sculpture at the Clearbrook roundabout.

Highlighting scenes of everyday life in the early 20th century, Sandhu’s work pays tribute to the individuals, institutions, businesses, and the culturally diverse communities who contributed to the making of Abbotsford.

There are more than 100 paintings in the book that take the reader through early settler days and the building of schools, farms, industry and places of worship. It includes portraits of people like farmer Sundar Singh Thandi and Mennonite historian Abe J. Stobbe, as well as scenes depicting life from 1800 to 1950.

The late Dave Kandal, longtime resident and former Mayor of the District of Matsqui, worked with Manjit during the development of the book and wrote the foreword.

“Although I have read many of our local history books, Manjit, with his knowledge and keen interest in this area, surprises me every time we meet, by gifting me with a fresh insight and unique perspective about Abbotsford’s colourful and interesting history,” Kandal wrote.

Sandhu comes from an academic background of teaching and journalism, and has resided in Abbotsford for the past 27 years. He acknowledges his gratitude to live on the unceded land of the Sto:lo First Nation, and hopes his work will be appreciated as a gesture of gratitude to his predecessors in Abbotsford.

“No matter what background they came from, they went through a lot of struggles to give us one of the best towns and we need to keep this history and heritage alive,” he said.

Lest We Forget What Our Eyes Have Seen is available at The Reach Gallery Museum, 32388 Veterans Way, for $30 by cash or cheque.

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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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