Local artist Candy Carver, left, and community volunteers gather to paint her design  as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative at the Club Crossing intersection in Durham, NC on May 22, 2021.

(Travis Dove for Bloomberg Philanthropies)


If you’re wondering whether or not those shapes on the ground are symbols or just cool design elements you’ve come to the right place. Those are in fact symbols that originated from west africa from the Asante tribe called adinkra symbols. The symbols express various themes that relate to the history and beliefs of the Asante/ Ghanaians, and usually have a rich proverbial meaning as proverbs play an important role in their culture. There are over 100 symbols that can be seen on textiles, advertisements, logos, architectural design, clothing, ceremonies, and art.

Each of the symbols in the asphalt mural was chosen to represent and honor the tenacious and beautiful history of the people and places of Smithfield. Take a moment to identify the symbols you see on the ground within this chart. What other symbols do you notice that represent who you are or what you stand for?