Monday, January 11, 2010

We the People and our American Flag

A few months ago a video that Saber created was chosen as a finalist in Organizing for America’s Health Care Video Challenge. You can view the video following this article. Needless to say, the video had a few critics (FOX News Response...), but I doubt any of them understood what it means when an American graffiti artist turns his talent toward such a powerful (and art historically significant) symbol.

Saber, Tarnished Flag, 2009
mixed media on canvas, 19.3 X 25 in • 49 X 63.5 cm
art/ photo © 2010

When the first flag he painted last year was viewed. It was overtly political in a way that had been uncharacteristic of Saber’s art thus far. Compelling in its raw emotion, the dingy gray of the white stripes was created by words like oil, Katrina and Blackwater. Scratched into the textured surface, those words seem to further stain the flag with the dripping of red American blood. And in the square, he wrote the names of people, a real source of American power. This Tarnished Flag spoke of the anger, sorrow and silent shame of things done in the name of all Americans in the first decade of the 21st century.