About the Art
Compassion, Peace, and Community
celebrating 60 years of friendship between Oakland and Fukuoka
Design by Rachel Rodi and Guy Fuerte
OFSCA’s Board of Directors selected Rachel Rodi Mosaics, a local artist with over 25 years of extensive experience designing and creating mosaic installations including public art with communities. Visit Rachel Rodi's website portfolio and more information.
10 design team members from Oakland, Japan, and youth from the Bay Area joined in their creative efforts to contribute to the overall design and symbolism of "Compassion, Peace, and Community" resulting in the design draft artwork above.
Story & Symbolism of the Art
Japanese Bush Warbler
Plum blossom tree and Japanese bush warblers (uguisu) represent Fukuoka, Japan.
Black-crowned Night Heron
The black-crowned night heron, a watershed bird, is the official bird of Oakland in part due to petitions by the Oakland community and youth members.
It symbolizes resilience, adaptability, and resistant to displacement. “[It] serves as an excellent symbol for the City of Oakland given its bold personality and industrious lifestyle, and as a representation of our strong-willed, tenacious, and dynamic community which despite adversity and hardship always shows the strength and resiliency to rise and thrive” The City of Oakland resolution No 87702 C.M.S.
Oak tree with acorns and the black-crowned night heron represents Oakland
The oak tee is strong, enduring, wise, and its roots and branches are symbols of celebrating the diversity and strength in unity. It is also a symbol for life and dynamic growth and constant change.
Water & Sky
The water flows from both sides with gradients of color representing the two sides of the Pacific Ocean meeting and highlighting how water systems connect all communities and peoples together and unify us.
Fukuoka and Oakland are both port cities and water is essential. Both Oakland (Lake Merritt) and Fukuoka (Ohori Park) enjoy bodies of water in the middle of their cities.
Acts of Friendship
The friendship blossoms between the birds.
The Japanese bush warbler is singing to welcome their friend from across the sea.
A Symbol of Community and Friendship
This project began three years ago led by JJ Kotler (OFSCA) with the goals of not only celebrating the 60-year friendship between our cities, but to be a community inclusive project building new and deepening existing relationships of people and organizations with OFSCA in Oakland and the Fukuoka Oakland Friendship Association (FOFA) in Japan.
Community participation and youth leadership was central to programming from concept and design to implementation. Design team members from the Oakland Bay Area and Japan joined in creative efforts exploring the personal and cultural significance of the message "Compassion, Peace, and Community" which translated into the artist's design by Rachel Rodi and Guy Fuerte. Prathana Pandey joined the team as a youth leader helping with outreach, concept, and design decisions, receiving additional mosaic training to become the mosaic assistant to Rachel Rodi for this project.
To deepen the symbolism in the mosaic mural and celebrate our connectedness to each other and nature, pebbles from Oakland, CA and Fukuoka, Japan were incorporated. Oakland residents (children ages 8-12, family members and adults) met in April 2022 to collect pebbles from Roberts Regional Park hosted by the East Bay Regional Park District. Fukuoka residents similarly participated in a pebble collection event along the Muromi River hosted by FOFA in January 2022 and sent the pebbles to Oakland to be incorporated. Mural classes, training, and community mural making days were sponsored by OFSCA and led by expert artists Rachel Rodi and Guy Fuerte.