• Vexillologa on the move! From Seattle to Oakland.

    Vexillologa on the move! From Seattle to Oakland.

    So many things!

    I thought I'd start bombing my blog seeing as I've been slacking in this realm AND also because I have my biggest project yet, totally flag centered, waiting for me to get started in Oakland. As I wrap things up in my new home of Seattle in preperation for my road trip with my loyal trusty wiener dog, Reggie, I thought I'd get the blogging going as I'll be sharing all aspects of this project and encourgaing others to do the same. Gottah practice what I preach!

    About the project:

    My Story Is My Flag is an intensive three week project, in collaboration with Interface Gallery and the Oakland International High School community, to create a series of banner pieces that speak of the experiences of this uniquely diverse student population’s transient histories. The project is designed to encourage students to speak of their immigrant and everyday experiences through design, research, materials, color, and storytelling, while learning valuable technical and conceptual skills. My Story is My Flag seeks to make visible the histories of this marginalized yet vital immigrant population and the vibrant school community dedicated to its resilience. The final pieces will be installed along Telegraph Ave in Oakland with a grand event on, you guessed it, FLAG DAY! (cue the PeeWee's Playhouse screaming!)

    Even greater news is, we got a matching grant from the East Bay Fund for Artists. However, big crazy projects like this cost $ to make happen so we started a fundraiser to match the grant and cover the rest of the costs. WE ARE SO CLOSE. 34 days left!

    The East Bay Express thought the project was so cool, it got a write up! I was almost equally flattered to have the story featured under "Most Popular Stories" along with new about one of my favorite Oakland bands, "Los Rakas scheduled to play the White House". Made me feel pretty fly, in the nerdiest way possible. 

    So here is the link to donate should you feel enticed to because it takes a village. Pass it on. Do what you can to help us make this happen. Oakland needs it and I am so excited to lead it. 

    Super special shout out to the awesome Suzanne L'Heureux of Interface Gallery for making this all happen! 

    Also check out my new suitcase. 


    Your Vexillologa.

  • Vexillologa-ing as access to a language of power?

    In 2014, I was invited by SOMArts then curator, Justin Hoover, to participate in the final exhibition event for Flag Stories: Citizenship, a year long youth art program run by the SOMArts Cultural Center in partnership with the Islamic Art Museum of Malaysia. Though Justin was quite familiar with my work as a performance artist, he also knew of my recent research in Vexilollogy, the history, design and general interest in flags. As a public engagement piece, I staged a workshop area with two tables. I prepared various textile sheets with heat bonding material, stenciling tools, 2 hot irons and a major willingness to nerd out with anyone interested in discussing the weight of the alien term as well as provide basic historical context, technical and conceptual support for those interested in making their own flag for the taking. The response was quite powerful. One local participant made a flag with her own personal mantra as an example to show her patients who were recovering victims of domestic violence. Another Malaysian student made a pocket sized flag that said “NO!” on both sides. She intended to use this as a response to when asked about her traditional headdress, which was often. Frustrated by by dealing with ridiculous and inappropriate questions such as “do you have ears? or “what are you hiding under there?”,  she chose to make this flag as a portable yet silent protest that very clearly expressed her unwillingness to engage in such ignorant curiosities about her culture and identity.

    My experimental Vexillology workshop showed me the potential of working publicly with the flag form and validated my suspicion/hypothesis/hope.

    A. People were really into flags too, most just didn't know it. I mean, it is after all a huge part of our daily visual, cultural and political landscape.

    B. Sometimes playing with materials and with what you have at hand can yield surprising, powerful results filled with potential. But without space, time, engagement and access, how does this potential continue to sprout and evolve?

    Space, Time, Access….precious things, especially now and especially in the Bay Area.