Tobacco Mural

In our walking tour training, we happened to come across a mural in a parking lot. The location is what surprises me a lot because I wouldn’t usually stand in the middle of a parking lot to examine murals. However, upon closer inspection there are a lot of details that I have failed to notice in the past when taking a brief glimpse of the mural.

The mural is from the South Cove Community Health Center. It’s called the Tobacco Control Mural Project and was made in 1998. First off, as a resident of Chinatown I like to say that the mural seemed to have a positive impact on some of the residents of Chinatown. Before the mural was put up, there would be a lot of smokers outside my house making it impossible to go home without taking a whiff of second hand smoke. From my experience, it seems that the number of smokers might have decreased and I don’t always have to go home while dodging puffs of smoke.

Now let’s talk about the image. In the middle are three figures: Confucius, Buddha, and possibly Laozi, the founder of Taoism. The mural then diverges into two sections: the East and the West. The East is full of smoke and there cigarette butts. It’s dark, gloomy and depressing. The West side contains positive images. This includes medicine on the bottom left. This is possibly the idea of China adopting western medicine. There are images of sports including baseball, volleyball, and bicycling. There’s also the image of family compared to the right where everyone is isolated. Four dragons are on each corner labeled north, east, south, and west. If you happen to swing by Chinatown, make sure to check this out.

Peter Chan, Metropolitan Youth


2 thoughts on “Tobacco Mural

  1. The Taoist/Daoist figure is the god of the South Pole, the “Shou xing” which is astronomically designated as the Star of the South Pole (literally, the star of longevity). He is often seen holding a staff and a peach with symbolize aging well and living well, respectively.

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