The River / El Rio: Both Sides, No Sides

In 2016, Mitsu Overstreet unveiled “The River / El Rio: Both Sides, No Sides,” a captivating 1600 sq ft public art installation at The El Paso International Airport ConRAC. Commissioned by the airport and the City of El Paso, this project aimed to design the flooring for the new ConRAC building, seamlessly connecting it to the main airport. Building on the inspiration from his prior installation, “River Spirit,” Overstreet collaborated with local award-winning poets, Bobby Byrd and Sasha Pimentel, intertwining their verses into the design. The result was a poetic pathway celebrating the profound connection between El Paso and its binational sister city, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This installation not only energized the ConRAC center but also maintained continuity with the design ethos established three years earlier in the baggage claim area.

The River/El Rio: both Sides, No Sides

This collaborative, integrative terrazzo floor installation for the ConRAC Facility at the El Paso International Airport, El Paso, Texas, is an extended project from River Spirit.
Poetry embedded into the abstracted river floor design was written by Bobby Byrd and Sasha Pimental, award winning poets from El Paso. They collaborated on a theme inspired by the culture of the binational sister cities straddling the border, El Paso, Texas, U.S. and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The poem spiral flows in and out of the center of the foyer where visitors can look up to the hanging dichroic acrylic glass installation, Radiance, created by Re:Site.

Photo: Scott Weaver

Poetry embedded in the terrazzo floor can be read upon walking into the ConRAC facility which leads in and out of the center of the foyer.

The River/El Rio: both Sides, No Sides

by Bobby Byrd and Sasha Pimental

El Paso is rooted like a thicket of salt cedar and cottonwood on the Rio Grande. El río cuts through mountains to make this place a natural passage. That’s what el paso means, the pass. For centuries many different peoples—like ourselves, right now, standing here—have passed through El Paso, going north, going south, going west, going east. On the other side is La Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. Los mexicanos call this river “el Río Bravo,” and they know, like we know, that we are all brothers and sisters. We breathe the same air, we drink the same water. We are border people. Somos fronterizos. We are without end.

Begin from water, the great stillness of desert night and cooling air, our river violet and inky. La luz de la luna en las colinas. And a word rustles across the page, between mouths, at the edge of state and country. El Paso, sólo el Río Bravo tiembla entre tú y el rostro brillante de Juárez—and when the plane descends, both cities glisten in the window, a single ocean of light. Begin now, too, in ascent of flight—the altitude of shared breath, and how, below clouds, our land breaks through: like puddles of star.


This center piece to the foyer was designed by Re:Site

Photo: Scott Weaver

El Paso Int Airport CONRAC Entry El Paso TX | Photo © Copyright Scott Weaver 2016. All rights reserved.