Installation at City Barn

Prayer Flags for Cincinnati 2017

Located in the Avondale neighborhood, the City Barn building was built in 1896 for the purpose of housing the horses used to pull trolleys around the city. After the elimination of horse-drawn trolleys due to technological advances, the building evolved to serve many different functions including housing the State Chemical Company and a used book store before sitting as a vacant eyesore for many years. While it remains empty, the site is now owned by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and in 2014, Artworks Cincinnati completed “Beguiled by Wild”, a series of Charley Harper themed murals to beautify the site as well as celebrate the variety of animals housed at the zoo.

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.