The D.C. area is a rich mixture of local, national, and international communities.  Bridging the Americas illustrates one complicated example of this fusion: the relationship between D.C., the United States, and Panama.  

Bridging the Americas is a project that draws on photography, museum collections, and contemporary interviews. Narratives from Panamanians, people of Panamanian descent, and Zonians (the name for people from the U.S. controlled Panama Canal Zone) from around the D.C. metro area form the base of the stories.  In conjunction with narratives from U.S. citizens who live in Panama, this project helps show the formal and informal ties between Panama and the U.S.

The United States and Panama have a long and intertwined history,  from the construction of the Panama Railroad to facilitate passage during the California Gold Rush to the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal whose expansion will soon be complete. Using images and narratives from diverse local residents, this project complicates notions of identity by exploring the ways in which Americans, Panamanians, and Zonians build communities and think about “home”.

Latin American Festival, 1993. Black Mosaic Research Project, Anacostia Community Museum Archives Smithsonian Institution, Harold Dorwin, photographer.

Ladies in polleras at a Latin American Festival, 1993. Black Mosaic Research Project, Anacostia Community Museum Archives
Smithsonian Institution, Harold Dorwin, photographer.

 

Panamanian Independence Party, November 2013, L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, Washington D.C. Photo by Susana Raab

Goods for sale at a Panamanian Independence Party, November 3, 2013 at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington D.C. Photo by Susana Raab

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