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Fronteras: 'Bridging Cultures' is a multidisciplinary exploration of borderland cultural heritage; Remembering artist Jesse Treviño

The Texas-Mexico borderlands are a bilingual, bicultural region that shares commerce, trade, traditions, and landscapes.

But the area has often been seen through a critical lens that focuses on illegal immigration, border security, militarization, and violence.

A group of individuals with expansive backgrounds is fighting back against this narrative with their observations about the significance of the borderlands.

Their writings are collected in “Bridging Cultures: Reflections on the Heritage Identity of the Texas-Mexico Borderlands.”

A 2012 conference at the University of Texas at San Antonio centered on the heritage of the lower Rio Grande Valley. It sparked the idea for the collection, with many of the conference participants contributing to the book.

The book was co-edited by two leaders of the conference, Harriett Romo and William Dupont.

Romo, the former director of the Mexico Center at UTSA and professor emeritus of sociology, said the book offers a counter-narrative against negative images of the borderlands.

“We were frustrated that many people beyond Texas don’t know anything about the border. They don’t understand it,” she said. “They just really have all these misconceptions that we wanted to raise the consciousness to confront.”

Dupont, the director of UTSA’s Center for Cultural Sustainability, said the book encompasses the larger picture of the borderlands.

“(It’s) not simply the politics of the region, but a deeper understanding to open up a view into a part of the country that is not well understood,” he said. “And to make sure that we looked at it as a region that was expanding on two sides of the river.”

Listen to the second part of the conversation with Dupont and Romo on Feb. 24.

San Antonio artist Jesse Treviño died Feb. 13 at the age of 76.

His iconic work across San Antonio includes a 9-story tiled mural "Spirit of Healing" at Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital downtown, and La Veladora of Our Lady of Guadalupe on San Antonio's Westside.

Texas Public Radio’s Arts and Culture reportJack Morgan followed — and now remembers — Treviño’s remarkable career.

Click here to view an interactive map where you can find Jesse Treviño’s works across San Antonio.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1