An American flag covered in 513 electronic security tags hangs from a gold rod flanked by tassels. Ward wrote of the work, “Like their use in safeguarding store inventory the security tags are intended to monitor and protect the flag. In this situation their aggressive use negates the Stars and Stripes transforming the American flag into a banner of fear, and capitulation. The work is intended as a cautionary specter for our times.”
In 2017, Ward created Breathing Flag, which combines references to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association flag with a Congolese Cosmogram, an African prayer symbol. Four years later, Ward made Say Can You See, an American flag covered in 6,000 security tags.
Ward was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 12; the family settled in Brooklyn, New York. Ward has lived in the New York City area ever since, earning his BA at Hunter College and his MFA at Brooklyn College. He became a U.S. citizen in 2011. Ward received the Vilcek Prize in Fine Arts in 2017 for his body of found-object assemblage artwork that invites both public discourse and intimate dialogue on topics including race, poverty, and Black and Caribbean diasporic identities.
[Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, CA];
New York. Vilcek Foundation. Nari Ward:Home of the Brave. May 31, 2022-February 3, 2023.