THE RAINBOW FLAG, GILBERT BAKER
A person’s associations serve as important identifiers for growth and empowerment. By definition, socially marginalized communities have experienced exclusion and discrimination, often over multiple generations. Marginalized communities are on the edge of society. Therefore, artists identify with and represent all of these communities. Activist art is created to challenge values, ethics, social mores and speak to what the artist(s) considers unjust political and social realities.
Flags are often associated with cultural symbolism and are therefore the perfect piece of artifact and activism. Flags are created for the street, not for a gallery, and the images on flags can identify, or group individuals together. Flying a flag on a house or car is about more than cloth, it is taking action. The rainbow flag that represents the LGBTQIA asdefined by the American Psychological association as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual community, social movement was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. Baker who created the first iconic rainbow flag after becoming friends with Harvey Milk discussed “how action could create change.” Milk challenged Baker to create a symbol of pride for the gay community because at the time, the community was using the pink triangle that was imposed on homosexuals by the Nazis to identify and persecute them. In 2004, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) acquired the original hand dyed rainbow flag made by Gilbert Baker for their permanent collection. The MOMA’s curator stated that the flag was important to the archives as a design milestone as well as an iconic piece of activist art.
References and Resources for further investigation:
Antonelli, P. (2015). MOMA acquires the rainbow flag [Press release]. Retrieved from https://moma.org/inside_out/moma-acquires-the-rainbow-flag
Barrios, B. (2004). Of flags: Online queer identities, writing classrooms, and action horizons. Computers and Composition, 21(3), 341-361.
Cummins, J. (2015). Intercultural education and academic achievement: a framework for school-based policies in multilingual schools, Intercultural Education, 26:6, 455-468, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2015.1103539
Gallois, M. (2016). The aboriginal flag as art. Austrian Aboriginal Studies, 2(1), 46-60.
Ortega, A. (2014) Looking into the eye of the process intercultural art activism trans*/lations and intersex/tions in the global south. Agenda, 28(4), 86-93.
This blog chronicles my research in activist art and my life as a woman in academia.