Two Way Bridges (Puentes de Doble Vía), 2013
ARTISTS: Duke students with assistance from visiting artists from the Dominican Republic: Hector Blanco, Ezequiel Soto, Antony Vazquez, Junior Gonzalez-Almonte and Durham-based Latino artists, Cornelio Campos and Miguel Rojas-Sotelo
Location: 800 W Main Street
The mural Two Way Bridges (Puentes de Doble Vía) is part of a larger project in which Duke faculty and staff, with the Center for Documentary Studies, Spanish Language Program, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, and DukeEngage on the Border/Encuentros de la Frontera, and local organizations representing the Latino community, came together to find new ways to engage and create an exchange between the Latino community in Durham and Duke University. The ongoing initiative is supported by a Duke Humanities Writ Large grant, and includes university-level courses, workshops, documentary filmmaking, and exhibitions. The first iteration of this program began in 2013 and included Duke students, faculty, and staff, as well as four visiting artists from the Dominican Republic and two Durham-based Latino artists.
Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Latino residents in North Carolina increased from approx. 76,000 to 302,000, a growth rate of 400% (Durham was a county with no ethnic majority according to the 2000 census). Today the Latino population in North Carolina has increased to approximately 845,000 residents, representing 8.7% of the state’s population; 38,000 of these residents account for about 14% of Durham’s population.
In order to depict this change visually, the Two Way Bridges (Puentes de Doble Vía) mural project goes beyond numbers and utilizes the voices of the community. At the center of the mural, a Roman handshake symbolizes community and strength. Since ancient times, the handshake has been a gesture signifying a bond and mutual trust between two people. For the Two-Way Bridges project, these qualities are the foundation for building a stronger and more inclusive community in Durham and beyond. The project provided the opportunity for education, peer communication, and human connection. Through the act of art-making, the project realized its goals of building relationships and communication among members of a unified community.