In our education programs we facilitate numerous workshops and art activities related to Tibetan Prayer Flags. Visually captivating and imbued with layers of meaning, prayer flags lend themselves to conversations about journeys, symbolism and pattern, among many other topics. Working with students in the Thinking Through Art program I’ve been reminded that flags can also hold deep personal meaning, particularly for students who are English Language Learners and new to the United States.
At the end of a Thinking Through Art residency we conduct program evaluations. One question we ask students is, “What type of art project would you like to do next?” Each semester several students respond, “Art that has to do with my own country.” or “Art about where I am from.” While we try to develop art projects that have relevance to students’ own lives and allow for a sense of personal expression, the specific nature of the collection of the Rubin Museum of Art limits how we can honor students’ home countries in our program. However, students at Liberty High School Academy for Newcomers have found a way to solve that challenge themselves. Here is a sampling of student art created over the last 3 semesters in which the artists have incorporated flags (or at least deliberately used the colors of flags) from their home countries, including China, Dominican Republic, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Yemen, and Albania: