Installation at Avondale Town Center

Prayer Flags for Cincinnati Acrylic on found fabric 2017

With 18,706 residents, Avondale is Cincinnati’s fourth largest neighborhood, however access to fresh produce is limited as there are no grocery stores located within the neighborhood. The flags were installed at Avondale Town Center, a primarily unoccupied strip mall that will be the future location of a $40 million redevelopment project in Avondale. Most of the existing strip mall, the Burger King restaurant and a check-cashing business will be demolished to make way for commercial space and 119 units of mixed-income housing, market-rate, low-income and workforce rental. During installation, one resident lamented that he had lost local access to food with the closing of the Burger King and Avondale residents hope the redevelopment plan will include a grocery store.

Prayer Flags for Cincinnati was a collaborative project featuring the perspectives and input of local Cincinnati residents which inspired both the themes and images of the flags created as well as their locations of installation. The homemade flags are modeled after Tibetan prayer flags, traditionally hung around homes, villages, and sacred sites and are believed to ward off evil spirits and bring luck to those touched by the winds that pass through the flags. Instead of using the traditional dyed cottons and mass woodblock printing, the flags are made out of the scraps of everyday life, including clothing, doilies, handkerchiefs, napkins, tablecloths, pillowcases and curtains. Images of Cincinnati’s triumphs, the dreams of its residents and most importantly, the toughest of its struggles are hand-painted onto each fabric flag. These experiences are literalized through hand-painted imagery, emerging from the cloth as either prideful adornment or through the form of a stain on the surface of the fabric.