Weekend Portfolio: David Dunnico
This weekend my exhibition ‘Flag of Convenience’ opens at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery (the only art gallery in the world, conceived and built as a memorial to World War I). The photographs feature the Union Jack Flag and were taken in England and Northern Ireland over the past few years.
The exhibition opens just after the European Elections and the during the continuing mess of ‘Brexit’ and uses humour to make sharp social comment on patriotism and nationalism. It looks at how the Union Jack Flag went from being a banner of Empire to a symbol of ‘Mod’ – How it shook off an association with racism and football hooliganism and was rehabilitated with Cool Britannia, Brit Pop and the London Olympics. But after Brexit, and a resurgence of nationalism here and the election of Donald Trump in the USA, but asks, what does the Union Jack symbolise now?
Flags are just pieces of coloured cloth, but people turn them into powerful symbols by giving them their own, sometimes contradictory meanings. Together, the forty photographs record the ‘interesting times’ we are living in. They range from German supermarket (Aldi) advertising their “Championing of Great British Quality” to the Orange Order’s annual seaside outing to Southport. From rainbow coloured Union Jacks on gay pride parades, to dystopian shots of CCTV cameras watching the flags fluttering.