Installation at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds

Prayer Flags for Cincinnati Acrylic paint on found fabric 2017

In it’s 162nd year, the annual Hamilton County Fair is the oldest county fair in Ohio and the fairgrounds have been located in its current Carthage location since 1853. The fair was originally founded to serve the once dominant agricultural community that surrounded Cincinnati as a means of presenting and passing on new agricultural techniques, machinery and tried-and-true practices handed down from the ages. The fair was created to meet these needs and to act as the culminating event of the agricultural year and an opportunity to express the pride farmers felt in their work. While agricultural communities have migrated outside of the greater Cincinnati area, a team of tireless staff and volunteers work hard to keep the Hamilton County Fair a vibrant, important part of the community for years to come.

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.