Yesterday was my first talk about the flag series E Pluribus. I am very honored and delighted to be a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s 6th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week and I want to thank Esther Hughes of the Mayor’s office and Doris Jones of the Queens Library Office for their generous assistance in making this happen. I also want to thank Andrew Jackson of Langston Hughes Library and Gina Fazio of the Flushing Library for arranging for the gallery spaces. I also want to thank Susana Galli for inviting me to participate in the International Immigrant Foundation’s gallery show. Thanks also to Jamel Dixon for hanging the Langston Hughes show so beautifully.
There are 4 flags hanging in a lower lobby area of the Flushing Public library and I gave the talk in a very nice adjacent auditorium. It was fun and though the weather was dreadful quite a few hardy souls came out for the discussion. It took me about 2 and a half days to construct my first powerpoint presentation. It was interesting to go back through the completed projects and retrieve the images that inspired them, like edelweiss flowers, keffiya head wraps and bamboo furniture. I am now always looking to find objects that represent the great offerings of the diverse cultures here. I am open to suggestions too. My talk really focused on the value offered by different cultures coming to live together here in the States. It is always about the people, about the value of individuals, about the value of what individuals can do together in groups whether they are tribal, communal, cultural or spiritual. I found myself repeating the idea that I have chosen uplifting symbols to represent these flags.
I feel it is critical to remember the gifts we share together and to emphasize the life affirming symbols and actions that we can celebrate and practice to make our daily experiences better and better. Let’s dance rather than fight, let’s make art instead of bullets and gardens instead of battlegrounds. Everyday we face choices and I personally resolve to choose actions, thoughts and words that affirm life, freedom, liberty and justice for all. Hmmm, I think I read that somewhere.
Anyway, this art project is an exercise in remembering the fantastic ideals written by the founders of this country that created the space for so many diverse cultures to come and live together in harmony. We are an example for the world. Let’s keep it working; kudos to Queens and the diverse residents there who show us all throughout the world how to live together.
I hope you can get to Langston Hughes Public Library in Corona or Flushing Library to see the flags. This Saturday there will be a reception at 1 PM with music by the Senor Lucky Blues Band starting at 2 PM at the Langston Hughes Library. I will give the talk again at 3 PM Saturday and tomorrow I will give it to some groups of school children also at the Langston Hughes Library. I hope to see you there.
Langston Hughes Public Library: April 17th to May 30th during library hours.
100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona, NY 11368 Contact: (718) 651-1100
Artist’s reception: Saturday, April 25, 1-4PM with Senor Lucky Blues Band at 2PM
Flushing Queens Public Library: April 17th to April 30th during library hours.
41-17 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355 Contact: (718) 661-1200
Artist’s talk: Monday April 20, 6PM (www.queenslibrary.org)
International Immigrant’s Foundation: April 17th to April 23rd
7 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 Contact: (212) 302-2222 (www.10.org)