Belfast Flags of Hope

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Belfast Flags uses art on flags to portray our common and shared human hopes for the future.
Last updated: December 2013

The Belfast Flags of Hope project was established in memory of murdered schoolboy Tomas Devlin. The project uses art to try to create a vibration for a better future. Inspired by Tibetan Prayer Flags, the project focused on the notion of using art on the blank canvas format of flag to portray common and shared human hopes for the future.

In April 2010 the Belfast Flags of Hope, as a record-setting project, was conceived and commenced.  The goal was to create at least 10,000 individual and beautiful art works to form a mass colourful portrayal of hopeful aspirations for a brighter future. In August 2011 more than 10,000 artistic flags were completed and exhibited together on a line as bunting. There were no partisan or sectarian images in sight. The project used the west Belfast Peace Wall as a site-specific outdoor gallery. The site of the imposing concrete wall that is the ‘peaceline’ symbolises the divisions that the project hopes to help to heal.

mill floor flags

The project required thousands of people to voluntarily contribute their creative energy.  Without this mass input from all ages, genders and communities the project would not have happened. Since then the Belfast Flags project has been invited to many communities to demonstrate how to create Hope Flags. The goal is that the project might be implemented by communities across Northern Ireland. The Belfast Flags is a project that strives to focus on a common identity, as human beings surviving in a world that has plenty to offer everyone.

guernica (Medium)

Belfast Flags completed two new massive paintings as part of the international Kids Geurnica Project. Kids Guernica is about facilitating young people with the opportunity to create their own version of Picasso's Guernica anti-war painting, Guernica. Belfast Flags worked in Algeria to produce this art in October 2014.

Cell was my Canvas BOOK COVER

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Description: Stories of artwork inspired by the experience of political conflict in Northern Ireland. The book is illustrated throughout with with more than 100 original photographs of sculpture, installations, community projects and paintings. The introduction by Jan Jordan, Durban University, South Africa, says, 'This story has resonance with many artists living in conflicted societies around the globe, with all of us who value our dreams and hopes, appreciate our loves, and fear the parochial small minded interests of those that claim to represent us.' The author, born in the divided city of Belfast, charts his journey through the political conflict, his involvement in the Irish Republican Movement and imprisonment in H Blocks of the Maze Prison. The book explores international examples of how art has been used as a tool for peace and progress. The author then describes important elements of his journey into art projects that are mostly related to and inspired by issues of political conflict, peace and attempts to overcome cultural and sectarian barriers. He provides illustrated examples of sculpture, painting, installation work and mass community art projects that address issues of political and social discord. This art book is useful to those from any part of the world who are interested in exploring issues of conflict and peace through art.

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