Stars and Stripes, 2003

On this very morning, the day after … the day after that happened, that unthinkable horrific thing, I thought how very timely, and relevant this work by Nadia Myre work has again become.  

I have not yet had the opportunity to ask what impelled her, in 2003, to make Stars and Stripes.  Looking back, it seemed like a year like any other.  One year after her landmark exhibition at Oboro.  Two years after 9/11.  By this point, George W. Bush and his crony Donald Rumsfeld were well-embarked upon their massively profitable and globally disastrous, power play in Iraq.  Four years later, there were five million orphans in Iraq—half the country’s children.   60-70% of them were suffering from psychological problems.  As many as half the nation’s doctors had fled.   A few years following that, close to a million people were dead.  

And now, over a decade and a half later, we see another country in tatters.  No matter what that man on the podium said about making his country great again, about placing it and its citizen’s welfare above that of all others, I see only the emptiness, the blindness to human suffering, the selfish vapidity.  

And gazing again at what is undeniably a reference to the American flag, my eye is similarly drawn to the holes, the disruption to its grid--the ultimate symbol of order and human rationality.  I gaze upon what appears to be the trappings of military honour—the vaunted stars, the much-desired stripes—and insteadsee the holes, the spaces, the blank canvases.   The flag is there, but it is undone, its symbols and trappings dispersed and ordered to some other logic or end impossible to comprehend.  I am left contemplating the holes, which remind me of an aerial view of territory obliterated, something a fighter pilot might see, after completing an order.  A job well done—another day in the quest to ‘make America great again,’ at the expense of all others.

Rhonda L. Meier, January 21, 2017