Installation at the Schiller Hughes CourtsPrayer Flags for Cincinnati Acrylic on found fabric 2017
Local residents and youth have been fighting to protect the local basketball courts and green space that sit across the street from Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, a public elementary school where 99% of students are considered low-income. The courts are well maintained and are popular with local children but are currently threatened by the OTR development boom and a pending deal between the city and residential developer NorthPointe Group who plans to establish Rothenberg Row, 20 plus single-family homes, each costing around $500,000. During the installation of Prayer Flags, several neighborhood children playing on the courts and in the park engaged me and assisted me with the hanging of the flags.
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.