STARS & STRIPES STATURE
An art project started around July 4th, 2016 intended to open up a conversation around the American Flag and what it meant and currently means to people.
"It makes me think of the Blues. The music, the color and everything......Freedom is good...But it turns out to be a Gordon Gecko kind of America......It's been festering for years and you can see it in the state of politics. ....It makes you realize the fight is hard to actually do good...It's impossible to leave....If I was dying I'd be fucked because I don't have money for insurance." Wven Villegas, 42, born Trenton, NJ
There's not anyone in the world who doesn't know this flag....But there are Americans who don't know any other flag at all." Sherwin Pacquette, 30yrs old, born Dominica
"It's beautiful and powerful ... It's lost it's magic because people don't really respect it...Patriotism is a lost art.
I feel lucky enough to live in a country where I'm free to be as wild and weird as I want without getting shot or oppressed. Sexual freedom is fucking very important. Freedom is in your heart...it's a state of mind no matter where you are." Alexandra Tabas, 32, born in Philadelphia, PA
"The flag is our national ritual..It’s a sacred symbol to most people...You can do what you want with it...I try not to knock it, not to tread on people’s feelings...Just not my way to destroy what people hold dear to them...Represents differently to everyone...There’s a commonality to the flag and how we decide to use it...That's the purpose it was designed to...If it symbolizes freedom and indepenedence, that’s the way you display it...it's a constant symbol...There's nothing necessarily wrong about showing it...I don’t shy away from displayed national pride." Robert Pascale, 54, born in Los Angeles, CA
"It's beatuiftul and intimidating...It's a myriad of emotions because of the way I grew up....I don’t think people have a full understanding of the inequality, the different types of inequality, the inequality of education...I think healthcare is bullshit." Jennifer, 37, born in Dallas, TX
"I've seen a lot of America...there's swathes of it that scare the piss outta me...parts that I don't see eye to eye with." Billy Keenly, 34, born Queens, NY
"It used to be special...The same way a knock off cheapens the original, all the bikinis, the beach towels, the fanny packs...What's the value of the flag now? It doesn't invoke any type of value in any form...I remember the flag from the Olympics in Seoul in '88 because it was a feeling of American pride and Korean pride. I consider myself an 'other'. There are so many people that are diminished and demoralized. There are more of those people in the country than there aren't." Samantha Kim, 37, born Richmond, VA
"The older I've gotten the flag is more skeptical. It has a complicated response...it's not as pure as it once was."
Jesse Rieser, 35, born St Louis, MO
"It's an old world pride....Doing it every morning you dont know what the pledge of allegiance means ... After living in other countries I now know that opportunity exists here like nowhere else. You can have 3rd and 4th careers. It's your choice." Christopher Rosales, 38, born Houston, TX
(Hesh): It reminds me of going through our parents’ photos. When our Dad first came to NY and this country, he was like a first-time tourist, taking photos everywhere with flags in it...We didn’t have a flag until we moved out to L.I. and 9/11 happened. After that everyone had a flag in front of their house. (Ramy) It’s essentially your life story....When I left and went to Egypt, I saw their living conditions and I became more grateful. (H) The stars are everyone that came here....Now I look the flag as a symbol, a blessing....It always gives you flashbacks...it also represents “future” to me.
When we are here, we say we’re Egyptian. When we’re abroad ,we say American. (H) We see both sides of the coin. We can rationalize with both sides....What's happening today is because most people haven’t seen both sides...That’s why I focus on the positive. Positive always wins. (R) Good always prevails."
Ramy and Hesh Elsokary, 29, born in Queens, NY