CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (April 5, 2016) – The flags of the 193 member countries of the United Nations were installed today in the trees along Charlottesville’s historic downtown mall as part of the Tom Tom Founders Festival’s annual City as Canvas project. Throughout the month of April, this 7-block installation will transform the iconic pedestrian mall into a gallery space of undulating flags among the trees.
Aaron Fein is Tom Tom’s 2016 Artist in Residence, and this will be the first time the complete White Flags has been displayed in Charlottesville. Initially conceived of post-9/11, White Flags creation was aided by community sew-ins who embroidered the white on white flags. White Flags message of peace and global unity have had a rich life both nationally and globally; displayed at Vassar College, Union Theological Seminary, and at the Israel/Palestine Race for Peace.
“Charlottesville in the spring is one of the reasons the White Flags project was ever completed,” said artist Aaron Fein. “In April 2006, after slowly working on the project over four long years, the Jefferson Center’s Free Speech Wall was inaugurated. This new and unique space for genuine public dialogue was far more intriguing to me as a place for displaying the flags than any formal gallery setting ever could be. I was able to hear from community members what the project meant to them. It was those conversations and debates that made completing the work a more urgent task. Charlottesville’s downtown mall will always be the true emotional home of this work, and I’m so glad I get to show it here in its entirety.”
For the full artist statement, please visit: www.tomtomfest.com/whiteflags