Unraveling: An Artist's Take On The Confederate Flag

Jun 22, 2015

No matter how you feel about the Confederate flag and the symbol it represents, one thing is for certain—it sparks emotion.  In the wake of the shooting deaths of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church, Governor Nikki Haley has said she no longer wants it to divide South Carolina. She wants it removed from the state Capitol grounds. 

One southern artist has found a place for the flag not in a history museum, but in an art gallery. WFAE’s Sarah Delia spoke with Virginia based artist Sonya Clark who was an artist in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in 2011.


Much of Clark’s work is focused on civil rights issues and struggles. 

Her piece “Unraveling” takes the Confederate flag and its complicated history head on. With the help of family members, friends, and strangers, Clark sat in front of it and slowly unraveled the flag—which is a tedious task.

Partially intact and partially in threads Clark says visually,  the flag looks like it’s slowly coming undone—to fully unravel the flag takes time and patience, much like change in society.

Sonya Clark is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. The flag currently hangs in a New York gallery called Mixed Greens. The piece is part of an exhibit titled New Dominion which features eight Richmond, Virginia artists. The exhibit was curated by Lauren Ross. 

 

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