Many Moons ago, I met Jason Wyman at SOMArts during my Vexillology workshop. He approached my table with his big gorgeous grin and went to work on his flag without hesitation. 2 years later I was lucky enough to learn his grin matched his awesomely contagious cackle laugh when we participated in the annual This Is What I Want festival in 2015 as performers. As soon as I saw him, I rememebered we had crossed paths and that he had made a great, excellently designed and memorable flag with me. He was a natural.
Both as an excuse to just say 'HI, I miss you!" and to get this blog entry out there, I recently asked him to send me a little blurb about his flag, if it still had significance to him anyway. Apparently, it did and still does which just warms me.
Here is what he shared with me:
"... the flag itself holds a prominent place in my home. It is right above my desk. I see it almost every day and it is a reminder that one can express oneself in a manner that isn't nationalistic but in a way that's still prideful. That's something more folks need to know. We can have pride. It is good to be proud. Where it goes sideways and veers into oppression is when that pride is marked SOLELY by ones nation or a singular identity. We all hold multiple identities. Your flag project help people think about their identities, how to manifest them in symbol, and how to place/arrange those symbols on a flat surface that others call flags. These flags can then be waved with pride for they celebrate wholeness. And that can be transformed into pluralistic unity."
As I research and prepare for a large public project with Interface Gallery in Oakland and the Oakland International Highschool students soon to be newbie Vexillologists, I'm doing a lot of reflecting. Jason's words served to remind me of my evolving faith in working with flags as a medium of power and communication. "We all hold multiplle identities." If this random obsession of mine can in some way facilitate an inclusive point of access for relaying the often complex stories that make us, and at least create a space that allows people to create symbolic reminders of what they can be proud of.....well, then, I'll just have to keep on flagging.
Please check out some of Jason's work at: http://www.14blackpoppies.com/
More on my Vexillology shennanigans soon! It's gonna be a great year!!