Find out more about Banksy‘s Flags series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Flags shows a group of children and young adults standing victoriously atop a burned out car raising the American flag. The children’s dress and their environment presents them as disenfranchised urban youths. With only one touch of colour – represented by a large gold or silver (according to the edition) sun or moon – the scene bears a melancholic and mournful tone.
Banksy’s work is a reference to the iconic photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima by American photographer Joe Rosenthal, taken on February 23, 1945. The photo depicts six US Marines lifting the Stars and Stripes atop Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima, in World War II.
The print first appeared at the 2006 iteration of Santa’s Ghetto, Banksy’s temporary art gallery and amusement arcade on London’s Oxford Street. The artist told The Guardian that he felt, ‘the spirit of Christmas was being lost’ so, in a 23-day show Banksy offered the public the opportunity to view and buy affordable works by some of the world’s finest underground artists.
Why is Flags important?
Flags is a rare print released as a collection in two different colours. The silver edition of 1000 unsigned prints was released in 2006 and the gold edition was released in 2007 at Santa’s Ghetto in Bethlehem. There also exists a limited edition of 20 screenprints on formica, made in 2007 and published by Steve Lazarides, Banksy's then agent.
Why we love Flags… ‘After Rosenthal's photo won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography, it quickly became one of the most recognisable images of the war, symbolic of American victory and patriotism. In Banksy's version, the patriotic Marines have been replaced by rebel children. Open to several interpretations – as is typical in Banksy's work – some say that the children are symbolic of America's youth, still aspiring to the American Dream. Others say the image symbolises the reclamation of a dystopian urban habitat, where children are fighting alone, in a world ruined by adults. In almost all interpretations it seems to represent the strength of humanity over a ruling system.’ - Joe Syer
How do I buy Flags?
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