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Unraveling: An Artist's Take On The Confederate Flag

No matter how you feel about the Confederate flag and the symbol it represents, one thing is for certain—it sparks emotion.  In the wake of the shooting deaths of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church, Governor Nikki Haley has said she no longer wants it to divide South Carolina. She wants it removed from the state Capitol grounds. 

One southern artist has found a place for the flag not in a history museum, but in an art gallery. WFAE’s Sarah Delia spoke with Virginia based artistSonya Clark who was an artist in residence at theMcColl Centerfor Art + Innovationin 2011.

Much of Clark’s work is focused on civil rights issues and struggles. 

Her piece “Unraveling” takes the Confederate flag and its complicated history head on. With the help of family members, friends, and strangers, Clark sat in front of it and slowly unraveled the flag—which is a tedious task.

Partially intact and partially in threads Clark says visually,  the flag looks like it’s slowly coming undone—to fully unravel the flag takes time and patience, much like change in society.

Sonya Clark is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. The flag currently hangs in a New York gallery called Mixed Greens. The piece is part of an exhibit titled New Dominion which features eight Richmond, Virginia artists. The exhibit was curated by Lauren Ross. 

Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.