Artist Defies Rednecks and Unravels the Confederate Flag—Let's Hope It's For Good

Sonya Clark

Sonya Clark, Unravelling, 2015. Photo courtesy Sonya Clark

Source: ArtNet News

After the recent terrorist attack in Charleston, South Carolina, America is involved in another “national conversation" about race.

This time around, it's partly a discussion over the Confederate flag. This banner of slavery still flies outside the South Carolina statehouse, as it does in other Southern states, even after the massacre of nine black Americans at a church study group by a 21-year-old white man.

Artist Sonya Clark was already on this issue before the June 19 shooting. Her work Unravelling, now on view at New York's Mixed Greens Gallery, offers a metaphor for hopes for racial progress via a performance in which she takes apart an actual Confederate flag.

At the June 11 opening, Clark and others worked together to separate the object by hand. Among the 50 or so people pitching in were curator Lowery Stokes Sims and writer/artist Daniel “Danny" Simmons. They worked together for a little over an hour; that labor removed only about an inch of the flag, in a parallel to the seemingly unending fight for racial equality.

It's on view, partially dismantled, with most of the central X still showing. Nearby is Unravelled—three piles of thread sorted into red, white, and blue—the result of a previous effort in the studio. Both works are situated immediately at the gallery door, making for a dramatic entrance.

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