Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hidden Meanings in the Stars and Stripes

Here is a fascinating article from the BBC about the US' national flag. Although the Stars and Stripes was adopted as this in 1777, there was no fixed design until 1912. This led to a variety of different interpretations, such as the shaping of the stars into particular patterns, including on one occasion a hidden Confederate banner! A more recent artistic interpretation - "The White Flag" is also considered - where the colours of the flag were drained away. This was created in 1955 during the peak of McCarthyism so you can draw your own conclusions on the artist's message...

You can see more of this in the BBC's Art of America programme (on BBC4 and here on iPlayer) and in this exhibition at the Smithsonian Musuem in Washington DC.

PS: The flag above was used in 1814 during the war between the United States and Great Britain (Confusingly known as the War of 1812!). It was raised to celebrate an American victory over the British at Baltimore and was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem - the Star Spangled Banner.

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