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Sim?n Bol?var's Legacy Exhibited in U.S.

Exhibition in North Carolina

From July 9 to October 1 the exhibition “Bolívar Blvd” will be displayed at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. It presents part of the research and collection of Venezuelan scholar Miguel Chirinos about the impact of the South American founding father Simón Bolívar in the U.S. The exhibition will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m daily.

“Bolívar Blvd” is divided into three sections: “Branding Bolívar,” “Historical Facts and Curiosities” and “Memorializing Bolívar.” Each present a number of documents, images and objects that are part of Chirinos’ collection, as well as other objects produced and collected for the exhibition.

The exhibition makes a connection between Bolívar as part of American popular culture and the landscape. “Branding Bolívar” includes products with the Bolívar brand, including motor oil, Havana cigars and cigarettes. In the U.S., the name “Bolívar” has been used for cities, villages, streets, avenues, banks, restaurants, rivers, mountains, parking lots and even license plates. Bolívar County in Mississippi is one example of the legacy of the South American figure in the U.S. The exhibition also displays Bolívar’s legacy in law enforcement, including sheriffs’ offices and police and fire departments, which also use his figure in their emblems.

The section “Historical Facts and Curiosities” includes an amateur video made when a Bolívar monument was unveiled by Venezuelan President Rómulo Gallegos and U.S. President Harry Truman in the City of Bolívar, Missouri, in 1948. Additionally, it shows President Truman’s Oval Office with a painting by the recognized Venezuelan artist Tito Salas, “Bolívar en el Chimborazo,” and a white marble bust of Bolívar.

“Memorializing Bolívar” displays images on monuments and objects related to The Liberator in the U.S, as well as documents, catalogues of his unveiled monuments, and some historical videos.
The exhibit presents this particular aspect of Bolívar’s legacy for the first time. Most of the objects and documents are from the collection of Chirinos, a Venezuelan historian and collector based in North Carolina who has studied and written about Bolívar over the last 15 years. “Bolívar Blvd” was curated by Miguel Rojas-Sotelo of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

On Simón BolívarSimón Bolívar, often called “The Liberator,” is considered one of the most influential political leaders in modern history. He is known in the U.S. as “the George Washington of South America.” Bolívar has been widely known for his visionary, integrationist approach to liberating the Americas from Spanish rule. What has not been widely known is that he traveled extensively previous to his successful political and military career, studying in Europe and touring the U.S. for six months in 1807, right before his heroic acts in the wars of independence. During these trips, he deepened his understanding of global issues and strengthened his revolutionary ideals.

Where: Fredric Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building, Duke University, East Campus. Durham, NC.
When: July 9 to October 1, 2011.
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