Yesterday, Nari Ward‘s Breathing Flag was raised at Creative Time‘s headquarters in New York.
The flag is part of the organization’s “Pledges of Allegiance” series, with 16 artists participating including Tania Bruguera, Alex Da Corte, Jeremy Deller, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ann Hamilton, Robert Longo, Josephine Meckseper, Marilyn Minter, Vik Muniz, Jayson Musson, Ahmet Ögüt, Yoko Ono, Trevor Paglen, Pedro Reyes, Rirkrit Tiravanija, alongside Ward. A new flag is raised every month, a political sign of community for artists and the public to unite around at Creative Time and affiliated cultural institutions.
Ward’s Breathing Flag, which references an African prayer icon and Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association flag, is currently flying above the Queens Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, North Carolina’s 21c Museum Hotel, and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, as well.
It is composed of a red, black, and green stripe, with an orange cross dotted diamond in the upper left-hand corner. “Several of these hole patterns are drilled into the floorboards of one of the oldest African-American churches in the United States in Savannah, Georgia. It is believed that the drilled pattern functioned as breathing holes for runaway slaves who, hiding under the floor, awaited safe transport north. The union of that moment and of Garvey’s black nationalist flag acknowledge the resilience of the human spirit to survive even as we continue the need to remind America that Black Lives Matter,” said Ward.