When images become flags : Four Flags for Chapel Ash

June 14, 2018 by Jayne Murray   Comments (0)

I gathered a lot of material on the ring road and was aware also of Enoch Powell on my peripheral vision. It's 50 years since he made the 'rivers of blood speech' when he was MP for Wolverhampton South West. The two came together one day when I realised the stretch of ring road I was interested in was built at the same time as the speech. I began to use the ring road as a frame and experiemented with putting different images in the frame. I began to draw parallels between the language used to describe the ring road and the social issues I saw as relevant, like immigration, economics and housing. The negative experience of stop start and disadvantage of the ring road system as a pedestrian and cyclist facilitated drawing these parallels with other negative social constructs that prioritise some and disadvantage others. I created a series of images, at first they looked like maps, then possibly as flags.  Several screens and a few test prints later and the flags were on their way. I was limited to 1.2m width due to the maximum screen size, and I worked with the marvellous technicians Andy & Jo to print on fabric - another new development. I made four different ones with the intention of positioning them in Chapel Ash Island - the project title became ' Four Flags for Chapel Ash'.

I was lucky enough to be accompanied by Becky Collins, Serge Sanghera, Sandra Cope, Phil Adams and Su Fahy. We proceeded from the art school with the flags down the ring road to Chapel Ash, where the flags were raised. We had several very positive interactions with the public; Becky Collins has written a marvellous blog from her perspective https://aa2a.biz/pg/blog/Rebeccarep15/read/33066/flying-the-flag-for-wolverhampton-with-jayne-murray

The experience has made me want to continue working with flags and with Wolverhampton's ring road, and to consider what the human flag holder can contribute to the art, and the 'empowerment' of the flag, as Becky describes. How flags often relate to territory, identity and protest, and a common meeting point.

There's an image album of the 'pop up'.