Installation at 1311 Arlington St.Prayer Flags for Cincinnati Acrylic on found fabrics 2017
Located in Camp Washington on a small lot surrounded by industrial buildings, this is one of two row houses that sit in relative isolation from neighbors and the community at large. Evidenced by the growing weeds, this house has been unoccupied for quite some time, the owner of the home having passed away and the property is currently ownerless. When installing the flags, I was struck by how nearby industrial buildings including the abandoned Crosley Building seemed to almost suffocate an otherwise lovely home. In talking with renters in the neighboring row house, they told me that they enjoy the open air breezes and the quiet solitude of the site, but lamented that often people who come through the area dump trash in their yards and trespass into the neighboring factory buildings and that city services like mail delivery and utility providers frequently neglect to serve the area.
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.