This embroiled flag from 2017 is a limited edition of 150 from Grayson Perry’s Embroidery collection. The flag is dominated by the central representation of two black cats - as the title of the work indicates - riding away on their motorcycle, defiant of church authorities as well as of the police cars and policemen chasing after them.
The artist handmade this limited-edition flag on the occasion of one of his most important shows, The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!, held at the Serpentine Galleries between June and September 2017. As in many of Perry’s other works, the work is replete with art historical references. The flag presents the viewer with a portrayal of two rebellious cats, which Perry imagined belonging to an imaginary motorcycle gang. The artist drew inspiration from 18th-century Asafo flags produced in modern-day Ghana by the Fante people. A key item of Asafo regalia, the Asafo flags have a rich and interesting cultural history and began to be produced upon the arrival of Europeans in Ghana in the 17th century. Traditionally, the flags are made on the occasion of the investiture of a new captain and are then shown around on special occasions, such as celebrations, funerals or processions. This work displays the magnitude of Perry’s endeavours and engagement with a broader art historical tradition that defies and goes beyond the Eurocentrism of Western art history to include other rich cultural traditions.