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Black fabric, reflective stripes, zippers

In this Exile Pavilion, this state- less pavilion, the flag, as a sym- bolic element of identity and belonging, is evoked by sev- eral artists from different per- spectives. Here, Dimitri Fagbo- houn’s African European Flag superimposes significations, open to the great complexity that a symbol of syncretic cul- tural and identity can take on.

At first glance, it resembles the American flag, with its two-colored stripes and stars. But its chromatic twisting is reminiscent of the one per- formed by Afro-American artist David Hammons, who created the “African American Flag” in 1990, an American flag whose colors are switched to those of Panafricanism (black, red and green). Here, it isn’t the relation between African and America that is in question, but the post-colonial relation between Europe and Africa – the two continents the artist belongs to – reduced to the basic colors that are black and white.

On the AEF, the stripes, made of reflective fabric, are held together with zippers. Where- as on the American flag, the stripes are sewn together (instead of being printed) in order to symbolize the con- struction of a durable union, here the zippers seem to ex- press the fragility of any union, whether it be European-Afri- can or Panafrican. A powerful visual object, this flag can be perceived as a way of materi- alizing “globalness”.




Courtesy: the artist and Officine dell’Immagine, Milan.