This series is a continuation of the "What We Built" mural at Banneker Douglass Museum in 2020 during the Black Vote Mural Project.
This project represents the long history of colonization and, more specifically, slavery. The Western World got its foothold on the global stage by building up new empires on the backs of Africans. New economies were built overnight, crumbling old empires and building new ones from America to Haiti, Guyana to Brazil. The slave trade generated billions of dollars in profit from mass consumer markets with things like cotton, sugar, tobacco, coffee, and cocoa.
In a world where politicians are trying to erase history in our history books, we need to keep speaking the truth about what has and continues to happen to black communities around the world as a result of slavery and the systemic oppression that followed. We need to demand that Western nations that directly and indirectly benefited from slavery pay Africans across the diaspora.
These flags were made possible by a grant from Greenpeace USA. Social justice is climate justice. The amount of human and natural resources that were stolen from Africa to help pollute the world by the mass consumption in the West has to be accounted for so that we can recognize and stop the destruction of the planet that we currently inhabit.
Thank you to Greenpeace USA.
Using fabrics with African textile patterns to reconstruct the American, Brazilian, Guyanese, Haitian, Jamaican, and Panamanian, 5'x8' flags. This series of flags comes with grommets, ready to be flown on a flag pole or hung on a wall.
Design: The Artist Oliver James
Photography/Videography: Oliver James