The E pluribus art exhibition has been on display at the Charles B. Wang Center since Oct. 12.
E pluribus, meaning “out of many,” exemplifies the many different perceptions of the American flag through the eyes of different cultures. On Nov. 10, Muriel Stockdale, the artist who created these flags, offered students and faculty an explanation of the flags origins.
The purpose of E pluribus was to celebrate diversity, according to Stockdale. Initially, Stockdale was supposed to speak to the public, but later decided to have a more interactive program and led a tour around the Wang Center, where her flags were placed.
Stockdale came to the United States as an English immigrant and was inspired and enthused by the fact that so many cultures were depicted in one nation. Stockdale emphasized that during the beginnings of the war in Iraq in 2003, she was astonished with the flood of American flags that appeared to be everywhere.
This inspiring patriotism led to the creation of these flags. Stockdale also felt that she needed to portray the patriotism of other nations as well.
“I can do that for my own peace of mind,” Stockdale said.
With the assistance of her mother, she handcrafted more than a dozen American flags to represent other countries. Some of the other cultures include Scottish, African-American, Mexican, Indian and Russian. Before Stockdale created any flag, she did extensive research and traveled to other countries to retrieve the necessary materials.
With the English flag, Stockdale explicitly incorporated the Tudor rose. In English history, the two houses of the Lancasters and the Yorks were in a constant feud. By marriage, they were peacefully joined and the Tudor rose became the symbol of their union. Stockdale said she was deeply influenced by her own history.
“It has deep significance,” she said Stockdale’s Nigerian flag was artistically made of head wraps that are creatively worn by the women. They represent a significant part of their culture because they illustrate a precious element of a woman’s appearance.
Stockdale’s Hawaiian flag was made from a Hawaiian shirt. The stars of the American flag are on the right side of the shirt. Stockdale explained that the flag was meant to be worn and viewed in the mirror. Stockdale included light humor during her tour when she presented the Israeli and Palestinian flags. They were displayed across from each other, at a safe distance, because of the animosity they have for each other, she explained. Another one of Stockdale’s flags incorporated Italy, Japan and Nepal, and it revealed a strong sense of diversity.
“This, to me, represents the old idea of a melting pot,” Stockdale explained.
Stockdale’s goal was to “conserve tradition and culture.” During the tour, she explained how she would be enthused to see more people embrace their traditional culture. Among the crowd were four students and seven visitors.
“It was very diverse, looking at flags from different cultures,” said Nastereen Khandaker, a senior majoring in applied math and statistics.
Another student, Spencer Simon, a sophomore, biology major said. “She was extensive with portraying patriotism with other countries.”