In the late ‘80’s my parents emigrated from Ukraine and Iran to the United States. I’ve always had conflicting views on my identity as a first-generation American. The content I was absorbing in movies and video games portrayed characters from my ethnicity as bad guys, villains, or terrorists fixated with destruction. The repetitiveness of these stereotypes in the media made me question how I was perceived in American society.
The American flag has become a reoccurring symbol throughout my work. I am confounded with how the American flag functions as an object, symbol, and logo in the every day. I’ve rejected this object early on in my life due to the constant feeling of being an outsider culturally and socially, growing up in conservative Indiana. I saw the flag as a negative symbol in the environment I grew up in, something already claimed by ideologies I don’t believe in.
Overbearing commercialism has consumed this American symbol turning it into a logo. Often this symbol is seen on the backs of trucks, mugs, and on underwear and the list goes on. The flag as a logo is slapped on any meaningless object we can think of in our society. To what degree of respect do we hold this object up to when we use this symbol commercially? Commercial culture uses this symbol because it holds promise to fulfill our individual desires.
As Americans, each of us is chasing our own ideals of what being an American is. These pieces push this notion of ownership; recontextualizing this object, symbol, and logo of American culture into our own desired meaning.