Darren Lee Miller

Look Away

M. Greg Singer and I made a representation of the confederate flag by stenciling the stars and bars with black powder (musket propellant) on a flat black ground. We then lit the powder to draw the image onto the canvas. While the flag signifies rebellion against authority to some, displaying it is felt as a micro-aggression by many people of color. We considered that as we made the flag black on black, because historical constructions of “blackness,” of 3/5-ness, of human beings as other peoples’ property are the reason the south declared secession. We considered the history of the civil war as we used a modern approximation of the material that was used to propel bullets on battle fields. We thought about how the recent yankee appropriation of the flag seems to be wrapped up in right-wing distrust of government regulation and declarations of allegiance to second amendment rights. We alluded to Independence Day fireworks, and the spectacle of pyrotechnics that are always a part of our own nationalistic celebrating. I hope we raised a lot of questions as this piece was about asking myself questions. I’m not trying to silence anyone who feels they need to display this flag, but we are calling them out and demanding intellectual honesty.