SPACECRAFT, Melbourne<br/>
Australia est. 2000<br/>
<em>On top of the world: Flags for Melbourne</em> 2013<br/>
cotton, mono filament polyester, silk, metallic foil, digital prints, screen printing, reverse applique, fringing<br/>
(1-46) 250.0 x 125.0 cm (each), (47-48) 550.0 x 125.0 cm (each)<br/>
Supported by the City of Melbourne<br/>
© the artists
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Australia est. 2000
Media Release • 12 Dec 13

Raising the flag

Over the past few weeks flags designed by Melbourne artists were surreptitiously raised across the city. Jon Campbell’s ‘four letter words’ began to fly on working cranes with the words LOVE, SING and YEAH. John Warwicker placed his reimagined Australian flag atop the Royal Exhibition Buildings acknowledging the indigenous ground and its people’s relationship to the land, and three flags with WHO, ARE and YOU were placed atop Flinders Street Station.  

In all 41 flags have been quietly unfurled at sites including the Town Hall, Manchester Unity Building, Royal Botanic Gardens with an enormous 15 metre wide flag shouting SALE (with the word scribbled out) flying at the Haymarket roundabout.

Duplicates of the flags are now flying simultaneously in the NGV’s Great Hall. The reverential cathedral-style hang showcases all the flags from Rosslynd Piggott, Anne Wu, Tin & Ed, Jon Campbell, Tom Nicholson, Hannah Tai, Helen Johnson, John Warwicker, Kate Daw, Destiny Deacon, Matt Griffin, Aleks Danko, Brook Andrew, Callum Morton and S!X.

The project, On Top of the World: Flags for Melbourne, is a part of Melbourne Now and has been curated by Stewart Russell of Spacecraft Studios to consider the symbolic, semantic and decorative potential of flags.

Max Delany, Senior curator, Contemporary Art, NGV said that the flags invite us to celebrate and debate questions of place and cultural identity, communication and belonging.

“Each of the artists has designed a flag that specifically responds to the site in which it flies to commemorate its social, cultural, political or architectural relevance and heritage.

“Flags are often aligned with notions of triumph or resistance or can be seen as celebratory acts of community, festivals and parades. On Top of the World: Flags for Melbourne aims to present an alternative opportunity for flag-waving,” Mr Delany said.

Projects include the raising of a flag by Helen Johnson at Princes Hill Primary School, where, in 1901, a 13 year old student, Ivor Evans, was winner of a national competition to design Australia’s national flag; and a flag exchange between the NGV and Trades Hall, organised by artist Tom Nicholson, in which volunteers of both organisations march flags along Swanston Street to each other’s institution..

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the City of Melbourne was delighted to support this project as part of Melbourne Now.

On Top of the World: Flags for Melbourne is an imaginative way to tell the stories of our city. By bringing world class art into the streets, this project ensures that all Melburnians can be part of the NGV’s innovative Melbourne Now exhibition,” said Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.


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