A sculptural peace project displays the flag of every nation in the world rendered entirely in white.
Aaron Fein began the project in the year after 9/11 as he observed how all the U.S.A. bumper stickers on cars were fading. Such an enduring symbol, he thought, the nation’s flag to which we all turned for comfort, was poignantly subject to change just like the Twin Towers.
The project, White Flags, has grown slowly in the intervening years towards the ultimate goal – the completion of all 192 flags of the United Nations – to stand as a symbol of world unity.
Aaron had been content with the project’s slow growth until this spring, when he met Barb Pemberton, whose sister lost her life in the attack on the World Trade Center.
She told the sculptor that the project brought her peace and thought it should be displayed on the site of the World Trade Center on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, September 11, 2011.
He now feel it’s his calling to have the flags ready on that date to provide a hopeful symbol for the world, a sign to remind us that even though we each embrace a different flag, beneath our different colors, we are all one.
The national flags, cut from the same white cloth, and embroidered in white thread, look very similar. After the color is removed, the stars, stripes, moons and crescents, display a haunting likeness, as pale brethren.
Says the artist: “Hanging together in monochrome, the idealized emblems — all of the national symbols that define us and demarcate us — begin to evoke a shared language and history. Gently rotating in the light, varying in translucency, the reflections of nations, large and small, rich and poor, old and new, fade away. White Flags suggests a time when our similarities might overshadow our differences; a day when we might all be united as one.”
We all have an opportunity to help raise the White Flags – this growing installation of 192 flags – by sponsoring the creation of one or more flag. More than one dozen have been completed as of April 2009. Four new flags have been sponsored by Westminster Presbyterian Church of Charlottesville, Virginia, where the first 12 hung on display during Easter (see TV news report below below, or news story here). Non-profit groups of all stripes are invited to become partners. Contact Aaron Fein at 540.836.9426 or email him for details.