Flag Waiving: A Nationalistic Exhibition by Stephen Eastaugh
I’ve always been fond of flags but never drawn to that nasty, nationalistic excitement often found fermenting and scurrying in circles beneath flagpoles. That “us vs them” attitude is dangerous and dated, so I try to avoid fluttering that topic.
My love-hate relationship with flags is deep. I have painted on many, adorned my walls with ornamental national flags and included flags in Antarctica paintings. I like flags as they are simple, graphic, colourful, abstract forms of communication. They are also universal symbols used to separate and bond. Due to my travel addiction I am also directly connected to flags as they often represent chunks of topography.
I have recently etched pearl shells with images of undersea flags from the Arctic Ocean, sewn mixed media works on the Indian Ocean that present the thirty-five FOC (Flags of Convenience) used by cargo vessels across the world (Fluffy Flags) and I have drawn a number of fictional red, white and blue flags (Unnational) on crumpled paper also created while at sea.
Now in this new body of work produced in Broome I continue my interest in Vexillology (the study of flags) A series of small oil paintings depicting views of rich landscapes where I plant torn, damaged and melting flags, each representing no place at all. Out of proportion, unstable and oddly placed makes these flags simply colour, shape and texture waving in a miniature pictorial space.
Rather than waving I have used the word waiving in the title to present the idea that I totally refrain from waving any flag for nationalistic reason. The United Nations flag is a strong concept in progress and a good attempt but until the word and concept of Nations is removed the desire to be United globally will sadly not work.
I waive my right to be blinkered, fearful, brainwashed, stupefied and isolationist. I romantically and perhaps naively wave an all encompassing flag that is yet to exist.
PLEASE JOIN SHORT ST GALLERY AND THE ARTIST ON THURSDAY JUNE 27 @ 6PM TO OPEN THE EXHIBITION, ALL WELCOME.