Red Flags exhibition | 1st—10th August
The Margate School Gallery Window / August 1st - 10th
Curated by Double Sided Sticky Tape as part of Margate Pride
‘Red Flags’ is a contributive art installation featuring the names of 100+ LGBTQIA artists, showing solidarity in Pride month. And addresses the extra challenges we have faced this year through lockdown including the re-appropriation of the Pride flag rainbow in support of the NHS; the cancellation of our Pride celebrations and our learning, support and inclusion with Black Lives Matter.
The current socio-political landscape is saturated with red flags, springing up in conversations, social media posts and news broadcasts. Everywhere we look there is a signal, a warning, a minefield of triggers exploding around us as the very fabric of society is being dismantled and reformed as we see the re-appropriation of cultural symbols and the dismantling of historical statues. Has our flag changed forever? Originally designed in the 70s by Gilbert Baker, its meaning in wider society has been subverted and the predominantly heteronormative understanding and physical use of the Pride flag in support of the NHS has nothing to do with Gay Pride.
‘Red Flags’ is a direct response to the thousands of red flags that appeared for the LGBTQIA community, as children’s drawings of rainbows were hung in their thousands in front room windows across the country and corporations rebranded their Pride flag merchandise and buses to support government propaganda. Although the newly assigned meaning behind the rainbow symbols use was worthy, it was also hugely problematic to adopt a cultural symbol from minority groups, during a pandemic whilst erasure was being felt and Pride events were cancelled around the globe. Advice from charities to young LGBTQIA people was to not come out to their families during lockdown as it could put them at risk: all the while the government put through legislation to take rights away from trans youth and their families.
‘Red Flags’ doesn't seek to replace the iconic Pride rainbow flag but only to respond by a gathering of diverse voices that manifest in a giant flag that hopes to raise questions and be a powerful presence during Pride Month and beyond. Red is love, red is a warning, red is blood, red is socialism, red is the root chakra, red is defiant, red is passion, red is communism, red is stop! Red is an emergency.