Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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A Weaving of Cultures

Vincents collage

Vincent's collage

When I envisioned the two words “Cultural Encounters,” what came to mind was the metaphor often used to describe America – the melting pot of all cultures. What better way to represent a country than its flag? I took a more direct method in going about replicating this melting pot; I wove together the American flag using tidbits of other cultures throughout the world, resulting in a flag, while unique in its design, is very much the flag that I grew up to love, that is, the United States of America.

Originally, I was going to attempt the flag replication using different ethnic foods, but I abandoned that idea because I thought basing the spirit of America solely on food would not have been the best representation. Instead, I opted to use a variety of different cultural components: national flags, common everyday clothing, and cultural foods, anything that identified with a specific culture. In addition, I wanted to throw in some element of the Olympics as a reference to the global unity of cultures, hence the Olympics logo in the bottom right. There is also a poem written by Karen Lynn Vidra which I decided to throw in the mix because the last line particularly jumped out at me: “the world, as one, will win.”

I asked for some feedback from my peers, and none seemed to recognize my collage as the American flag. I associate this to the fact that my “stripes” are not all horizontal. The seven vertical “stripes” was an idea I ultimately used because having them go horizontally would’ve made them appear very much distorted. Furthermore, the large space in the bottom right is the final thirteenth “stripe,” an idea that none of my peers recognized.

I tried to stay true to America’s red, white and blue, in that I used components that were color specific to the original flag – red for red, white for white, blue for blue. While the collage might first appear as a rainbow-turned flag, each piece of culture will eventually show off its distinctions. However, it is those exact distinctions that help draw us together. It’s like making soup, we have all these different ingredients that contribute to an overall taste, and if we miss one ingredient, we don’t have the same soup; if we miss one culture, we don’t have the same America.