Out of Many, One
For me the experience was so fulfilling. I have been working on this project since 2003 and working mostly by myself. While I try very hard to conceive of ways in which to honor, respect and celebrate the various cultures represented in the flags the missing link has been community. I have throughout the years spoken to the occasional individual to hone my plans for a specific flag. My friends have helped me a lot donating ideas drinking lots of wine to donate corks and even donating fabrics to make into flags, but until now I have not experienced a real connection to the wider diverse community of New York.
It's true that I do have a fabulously diverse community in my immediate friends and family but what a delight it has been to meet so many new people from all over the world at Charlotte's Place. So many tourists, local workers, students, and residents came in during the project and traced their hands or stuck around to do some drawing, cutting and sticking on of hands. I gave many tours of my flag exhibit and answered the same collection of questions; why the flags, when did I start and how did I come up with the idea. Quite a few people were disappointed that their culture or country was not represented yet: some Australian ladies, two Spanish girls and a Dominican Republic contingent all had great ideas for more flags to be included in the collection. So I have my work cut out for me, or I should say not cut out yet but waiting to be cut out.
I feel as if the project has taken a great leap forward. It is a delightful ride and it is so very gratifying and such a deep honor to be working on something that is so appreciated and that creates it's own momentum.
Recently I showed up to do a bit of stitching; now that the flag is all together we have concluded that we'd like to stitch the hands to make sure they stay on. If you want to help please let me know. Anyway, I was doing that and a writer showed up; suddenly I was doing an interview for Suite 101 with Jean Terepka. She has very eloquently summarized the project and my work and I invite you to check out the article at Suite 101.
It is good that we finished when we did because shortly afterward the Occupy Wall Street folks arrived and discovered Charlotte's Place so the space is now very busy with groups earnestly discussing how to create a better future for us all. So come down and check out the work and get involved in the democratic conversation.
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photo: Trix Rosen © 2007