Open Invitational: Flag Share 2020 & Beyond
For this virtual exhibition, the Craft in America Center invited the public to create and share their own artistic vision of the future in the form of a flag that represents the character, aspirations, and ideals of their communities. This special project was inspired by the work of Victor De La Rosa and his Future Flags of America.
Live Flag Share:
Live Streamed on October 27, 2020.
“Democracy, Hanging By A Thread” is my visceral response to what is happening in our political arena since my individual voice cannot be heard till November 3, 2020. I am a textile, mixed media artist using fabric and stitching to create art.
For years I have been exploring the communication and responsiveness of each of us to each other through my “Hanging By A Thread” series. The layering of many fabrics represent how our emotions and personalities resonate with those around us, while the stitching reflects experiences and memories holding us together, some of which are loosely woven and some that are hanging by a thread. Each piece reflects life’s unique moments, depicting personal dynamics and links we each have with others. The individual…to individual, individual to the community, to the country and the world. The connecting threads look very delicate like relationships but in fact the actual stitching is quite strong hopefully like our relationships.
I am interested in this project as a 54-year old white woman, who teaches art and is deeply concerned for our country at this time. I have been compelled to create this piece and the Craft in America call came out just after I completed this piece. Making artwork during the pandemic and Black Lives Matter and election season has been difficult, but this piece felt like it had to exist in this time.
My father was schizophrenic and died in 2004. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery in California due to research on the part of family, who felt his service to our nation should not be forgotten. The American flag given to families at a burial is of a different dimension than those usually flown and covers the casket. This is his flag.
My process of a low-tech rubbing of paper directly over the flag, results in raised areas (like the embroidered stars) being darker than less raised areas. This gray-scaled documentation of an object references headstone rubbings or memorializing the departed through the act of putting their name to paper through graphite.
The metaphor of something as iconic as the red, white and blue, becoming gray and faded is a powerful one for me and I see creating this piece as one of homage and concern, both for an individual and a republic.
In my early work, I was inspired by pop artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and I made a series of flags and other iconic images with painted shore crab shells that were arranged in distinct patterns and mounted on canvas. The one might be the most relevant to these times is Good Ole Boy. It is a version of the First flag of the Confederate States of America with the stars rearranged in the shape of a pink grin, and with black and white stripes. Its symbolism is meant to imply that what lies beneath the veneer of the smiling “Good Ole Boy” is racism and sexism which is meant to divide and conquer black and white Americans and to maintain power in the hands of white men. This is not an optimistic vision of the world I would like to live in. It is cynical, but I enter it as an act of transparency. As a white person, I have an obligation to call out white supremacy in my own community, family and country.
There is strength in kindness, just as there is life in death. Initially, I approached the creation of this flag as an anti-flag, a symbol of an ending rather than a beginning. This set the size of my flag, as it is the dimensions typical of one used to lay on the top of a closed casket. I realize that when I die, I will still be influencing those who remain whether I choose to or not. This flag aims to explores the contrast between self-perception and communal perception by utilizing childhood nostalgia alongside brutality.
Flag of Dis-Union Are we on the brink Is democracy about to drink The elixir of DIS-UNION? Are we really this divided Is this the moment to be decided A tyrant or a savior I wave this flag with hopes we find RE-UNION! I wave this flag Just once Just now And hope its not FOREVER
On the Fourth of July this year, Home Alone Day 110, in an angst ridden funk about the condition of the world, our country and the effects Covid was having on ALL of US, and on our national holiday, and having been immersed for months in developing the themes for my next series of FLOAT construction works, and having read the 1619 Project and having a new perspective on the negative effects that slavery has had on the genetic history of the American culture, and reeling as we all did at George Floyd’s was murder in May, and having always had the idea that we, all of us on the planet, would never be a peace with each other until all of us had all of us in our DNA, which we basically all already do, and having made a having neon sculpture in the early 90’s titles, Racism is a Genetic Defect……I had the vision of a flag to replace the negative history ridden one we celebrate currently, so I designed this one hoping that it might speak to the diversity we truly are and have always been, with an all encompassing spirit of love and care for all…..
So this design has components of the past and the future which I think might express an acknowledgement of our past and our hopes for the future.
This quilt, sewn entirely by hand, imagines what the American Flag might look like if we were a matriarchy instead of a patriarchy. It substitutes floral prints, pinks and purples for the white stars, implying a nation comprised of a colorful spectrum, where the “bars” start to give way to something more harmonious and beautiful.
View this digital flag in motion by clicking here.
Craft in America Center invited LAUSD students from the Craft in Schools program to submit their own versions of flags for this exhibition. The gallery below will expand over time as those students submit their work:
The Craft in America Center is supported in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
The Craft in America Center is supported in part by a grant from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov
The Craft in America Center is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.