Early next year, ideally during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the highly anticipated Embrace Memorial will be unveiled on Boston Common, where it will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and their legacy in the city of Boston.

During the construction period leading up to this moment, photography and digital art by Boston-based artists of color will adorn the fence surrounding the future memorial site.

Local artists have submitted works to the Embrace Memorial Fence Wrap Art Commission, and two of the famous artists are Ngoc-Tran Vu and Harry Scales from Dorchester.

Vu identifies as a first generation Vietnamese American artist and organizer. She grew up in Dorchester and was drawn to community work in the neighborhood early on, organizing voter registration drives, lobbying for the teaching of Asian-American history and leading a neighborhood mural project. in 2017 on Vietnamese cultural narratives.

As she continued her works and her activism, she thought about how to intertwine them. “It was always something I really wondered about,” she said. “How can I connect these two halves?”

Now she channels those passions into “projects that amplify community issues.” His work which is displayed on the fence depicts a crowd in Dorchester protesting anti-Asian American sentiments and a Black Lives Matter rally in Nubian Square.

Scales is a fine art and editorial photographer who works in Boston and New York. His recently completed project, “The Clover’s Shadow,” showcases Boston’s communities of color. His work on the fence surrounding the Embrace Memorial showcases some of those same communities and views of Boston that are often overlooked.

Vu is thrilled that her art is playing a part in this “incredible public art initiative,” especially the one honoring the Kings. “Their legacy and their contributions to the civil rights movement have informed much of my activism,” she said, calling Embrace Memorial “truly transformative and much needed.”

King Boston is the nonprofit organization behind the memorial, which aims to spark conversation about this vision in perhaps Old Town’s most iconic location and among its most visited landmarks.


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