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21c Durham Raises Artist Nari Ward’s “Pledges of Allegiance” Flag in Tandem with Creative Time

This morning at 10 a.m., in partnership with Creative Time, 21c Museum Hotel Durham hoisted the third public artwork in the nationwide Pledges of Allegiance series, Breathing Flag by artist Nari Ward. 

“We are proud to raise Nari Ward’s Breathing Flag at 21c Durham today,” said 21c Museum Hotels Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites. “Ward’s homage to the resilience of the human spirit offers an inspirational message that aligns with 21c’s commitment to inclusivity, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Creative Time to host Pledges of Allegiance and share these thought-provoking flags with the public.”

Nari Ward’s Breathing Flag references Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) flag and an African prayer symbol known as the Congolese Cosmogram, which represents birth, life, death, and rebirth.

“Several of these hole patterns are drilled into the floorboards of one of the oldest African-American churches in the United States in Savannah, Georgia. It is believed that the drilled pattern functioned as breathing holes for runaway slaves who, hiding under the floor, awaited safe transport north,” explains artist Nari Ward. “The union of that moment and of Garvey’s black nationalist flag acknowledge the resilience of the human spirit to survive even as we continue to need to be reminded here in America that Black Lives Matter.”

Beginning today, as part of 21c’s partnership with Creative Time, a new artist-designed flag will be installed at 21c Durham on the same day the flag is raised at Creative Time headquarters in New York City and at other partner sites for the next six months.

In a gesture of solidarity, the flag will be raised simultaneously at the following five locations: Creative Time headquarters at 59 E 4th Street and The Queens Museum in New York, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, North Carolina and University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum which has agreed to be a year-long host for the series. Ward’s flag will fly for the remainder of the month before being replaced by the next Pledges of Allegiance flag. 

> Learn more about the project

Image: 21c Museum Hotels presents Breathing Flag, by Nari Ward, part of Creative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance. Pledges of Allegiance was originally conceived by Alix Browne and developed in collaboration with Cian Browne, Fabienne Stephan, and Opening Ceremony.

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