Interface Gallery has received a $2000 matching grant from the East Bay Fund for Artists to commission artist Cristina Victor to work collaboratively with Oakland International High School students and teachers to create My Story is My Flag, a temporary, public art project in Oakland. Together they will produce twelve, colorful, public banners, representing the students’ cultural and personal identities and stories related to their experiences as recent immigrants and refugees newly settled in the United States.
Oakland International High School is a unique school in that it is specifically dedicated to serving very recent immigrants to the United States. The population includes students from over thirty countries who speak more than thirty-two different languages. Thirty-three percent of the students are refugees who have escaped violent conflicts in their home countries.
Victor, along with OIHS support instructors,Tygue Luecke and Madenhali Hassan, will work with small collaborative groups of students to explore and represent their stories and aspects of their cultural and personal identities through shapes, colors and symbols, which will be incorporated into the banner designs. Victor will work intensively with the students to create to-scale designs, which she will then transfer into sturdy fabric banners made with an industrial sewing machine.
***OUR GOAL is to raise $3600 to earn the full $2000 matching grant awarded by the East Bay Fund for Artists and to cover all additional expenses such as materials for classroom instruction and production of the banners, marketing materials and organizational efforts. ***
The banners will be created during the school’s “Post Session” a session in which an entire year’s worth of art credits are made up during an intensive, daily, three week course at the end of the school year (May 23rd - June 10th).
These banners will be displayed publicly along Telegraph Avenue for four weeks. Their exhibition will be accompanied by a website that documents the project. It will also include a widely publicized opening day when students will be stationed along Telegraph Avenue to meet with the public and discuss their work. (Tuesday, June 14th, Flag Day)
This project offers OIHS students a valuable opportunity to explore their own stories and reflect on their identity in a professional art context. It also offers an opportunity to develop technology and English language skills through their documentation of the project on a website and their engagement with the public on opening day. Finally, My Story is My Flag, will provide unique visibility to the students of Oakland International High School, building bridges between OIHS students and the broader Oakland community and creating a sense of awareness and connection through a vibrant public art installation.
Please join our efforts towards realizing this exciting project by donating to our campaign!
Interface Gallery is a member of Intersection for the Arts, a 501(c)3 non-profit providing artists with resources, cultural space,and community to develop sustainable practices.
Note: We would like to express our gratitude to the Oakland International High School staff for helping manifest this project and Tygue Luecke and Madenhali Hassan for helping plan a great curriculum around it! We are also grateful to the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District for its help facilitating the installation of the banners along Telegraph Avenue.