One of my favorite paintings is mural in Long Beach called, “The Melody of Life” by Trace Tres Fukuhara. It’s on the side of the Senior Citizen’s Center on 4th and Orange…where my family and home church have served Thanksgiving Dinner to those in need for the last 34 years.
The themes and imagery for Melody of Life were developed with senior citizens at the Long Beach Senior Center, who agreed unanimously that the work should depict the many ethnic cultures of Long Beach. “The melody of life is teaching, learning, loving, sharing, giving and caring,” the artist says. “The essence of these images is to teach and pass down history.”
In a detail of the mural shown here, the artist has depicted a Mexican dancer in costume, poised in mid-step. Beside her a grandmother teaches her granddaughter a traditional Cambodian dance. The older couple kissing suggests that love flourishes at all ages, not simply in youth. The figures of wooden horses from carousels are reminiscent of the Pike Amusement Park. A vibrant sunset illuminates well-known Long Beach landmarks, including the World Trade Center and the historic Villa Riviera, while reflecting the artist’s boyhood memories of the skies above Long Beach.
I can’t help but think of this mural today, when we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. It depicts Long Beach’s own, “Red hills of Georgia,” vision. All of us need to have that vision.
Thank you for helping us see your dream, Dr. King. Thankfully, we can’t forget it.
Note: this post is adapted from a previous post.