New World Record

New World Record

Help set a new World Record

The Belfast Flags will launch a mass participation flags making project on June 3rd at the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland offices. The goal of this project is to encourage diverse communities to get involved in an event that is about flying flags that portray positive images and wishes for the future.
The project ambitiously sets out to break the Guinness World Record for the longest line of bunting ever! The current record is 1.35 miles - our goal is to make at least 1.5miles. Subsequesntly the bunting line will be flown at a significant and symbolic site in Belfast.
More details on this project will follow. Every one is encouraged to register their interest in participating in the project by sending details to Email:

Travelling India and Himalayas

While on an arts residency in India I travelled to the Himalayas and was struck by their approach to flag flying. Flag flying in the Himalayas is just as popular as it is in Northern Ireland. But the flags in the Himalayas (known as Prayer Flags) are about spreading harmony, good will and hopes for a brighter future - a stark contrast to the highly divisive flag flying in Northern Ireland's divided community, and indeed with the practice of flag flying across the world.
Project organiser Raymond Watson.

Belfast Flags International Network

Belfast Flags International Network
Just one of the positive images produced

Belfast Flags of Hope

In the Himalayas it is believed that the lightweight cotton prayer flags, on which hopes and prayers are beautifully written and drawn, will allow the messages of harmony to be blown across the land and will consequently spread good vibes to people and to the environment. To quote a local Himalayan man, ‘The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature.’
Prayer Flags are simple devices that when coupled with the natural energy of the wind, are believed to be a silent force to harmonize the environment. Whilst viewing these flags I thought to myself, ‘This is what flag flying should be about!’ With this site I hope to motivate diverse groups of people to fly and display The Belfast Flags in significant places. The Flags of Hope can be flown anywhere and everywhere but I do especially hope to have them reach certain signifigant sites. ie. Sites of conflict and disharmony (which probably includes most of the world). Sites of conflict are not narrowly defined as places that endure military warfare, conflict can be many things - poverty, lack of natural resources, denial of rights (welfare, health care, civil rights). My plan for this Flags project requires people to photograph the Belfast Flags at their own chosen place. The record of the event will then be sent to this site.
The aim is to spread hope for the future and to help generate a new attitude to the act of flying flags. I hope to gather images of flags from around the globe.

Symbolic Garden, Australia

Symbolic Garden, Australia
From Bill Kelly

Detail of Symbolic Garden, Australia

Detail of Symbolic Garden, Australia

From Bill Kelly, The International Humanist Art Archive, Melbourne, Australia

Dear Raymond,
I wanted write you to thank you for forwarding the Belfast Flags and the absolutely wonderful book/document that you have put together. As a model project I am sure that its influence will be felt in meaningful ways worldwide. As you know, I am familiar with and committed to the idea of engaging young people in processes of peace and art and so I feel that I can speak with some confidence when I say that The Belfast Flags project is one of the most intelligently considered and thoughtfully executed projects involving young people that I have ever seen.
As you can see from the accompanying photographs they have been installed temporarily in the "Symbolic Garden." Looking closely past the 'Flags' you will see ceramic artworks on the brick wall. These works, sculptures, hand painted tiles and relief works all relate to themes of love, justice and reconciliation. You will notice that the 'Flags' themselves are strung between poles painted with Aboriginal totemic images.
I thought that you would be interested in some background to this as the poles were painted by Aboriginal artist Ben McKeown and relate to totems and images of his country - that of the Wirangu language group of South Australia.

What is rather moving about this image for me personally is that Ben McKeown's father is of Irish heritage and so he is of Aboriginal and part Irish blood. (The name McKeown it is suggested has its beginnings in the name Mac Eogain in Connacht or Mac Eoin in East Ulster.) There is a poinancy to the fact that your 'Flags' about peace and reconciliation have found there way here to Australia (12,000 miles distant) where they are 'supported' by these beautiful poles - themselves painted by someone whose work helps lead to further reconciliation between peoples here in Australia and who has part ancestral lineage back to Ireland itself.

I want to thank you again and congratulate you on your work.
Yours sincerely,
William Kelly

Artist and Founder of the Archive of Humanist Art

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Belfast Flags at The Barn, Glenballyemon

Liz Weir the storyteller in the Glens is now flying the Belfast Flags. Her venue is internationally renowned, and has frequent international visitors.

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