La Danza de la Vida (The Dance of Life) - Birmingham's Nicaraguan mural
This mural was created at Carrs Lane in 1993 by a group of Nicaraguan Artists, sponsored by Oxfam, from whom it is on permanent loan. It is painted on five large demountable panels, and is above the stairs from the car park entrance to the Main Foyer, by the Fair Trade Shop.
Birmingham, city of music, dance and colour
Both are represented on the mural . . . Birmingham by its skyline and social scene contrasting wealth and poverty, sweeping down across the piano keyboard from which emerge musical notes containing symbols of local concern relating to the family, workplace, and environment.
Nicaragua is represented by the volcano as a symbol of its people, whose anger erupts into freedom. The rich colours of the volcano denote the love of the Nicaraguan people who sing a song about their strength in unity with each other.
From the volcano grows the country's national flower - the 'sacuanjoche' - containing symbols of cotton, coffee and maize, the three principal crops of Nicaragua.
Linking these representations is the 'Dance of the Races', which has at the ends the rainbow and the phoenix that symbolise our hopes and wishes.
Here all the figures are united, hand in hand, each wearing a heart as a symbol of the love, solidarity and compassion that exists between people.
The dancing figures represent the different communities that live in Birmingham and in Nicaragua. Above the head of each figure, a tongue of fire rises, and within each flame is depicted the conscience and concerns of each community.
Beneath the 'Dance of the Races' are slides down which a British girl and a Latin American boy descend, clutching the world, represented by the 'O' in the Oxfam logo, and symbolising Oxfam's work across the world.
Oxfam is the link with the two giant hands clasped in unity, reaching up and lifting our value as people. This is the central message of the mural, saying that only by sharing our common concerns and joining together can we ever begin to find solutions to our problems and work for a fairer world.
© Carrs Lane Church Centre 2013 | Reg. Charity 249617 | Carrs Lane Church is a member of the United Reformed Church