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We are the Bridge, 2011

Spanning the tracks where the old trains still pass, a 100 yard long pedestrian bridge crosses from the center of Saltillo, Coahuila (Mexico) to the Guayulera—a marginalized community on the other side of the tracks. Here the mesh platform is falling down and several steps are in poor condition, making it difficult to cross. On the downtown side, all is in good condition. Immersed within these two worlds is El Nodo Estación Creativa, a cultural development center located in the old railway station, directed by Fernando Carrera. He invited me to paint the bridge as a part of the Recuperating Urban Spaces project.

The intention was to unite both sides of the bridge with design, colors, and the participation of children and youth from both communities. What was once a bridge of broken concrete and rusty metal became a community art gallery. The mural was of two colorful trains coming from each side of the bridge, each freight car decorated with a picture designed and painted by a child. These two trains joined in the middle of the bridge, where the train tracks transformed into two hands grasped together in a sign of friendship and peace.

We are the Bridge (El Puente Somos Todos) would not have been possible without the contribution of my great friend Ariana Gomez, who accompanied me throughout the entire creative process. We were so grateful to everyone who lent a hand in the painting of the bridge: the children and their mothers, the community organizers working with El Nodo, and the local graffitti artists who helped sweep and do touch-up painting in the hot afternoons.