Usher Gallery 2018 Flag Commission

17 Apr 2018 - 31 Oct 2018

Daniel Rapley, 'Transcription Flags'

'The idea behind my flag designs evolved out of an ongoing project in which I am painstakingly mapping and re-drawing enlarged versions of my son’s pre-representational drawings. To me, these drawings represent a pure expressive gesture that is (all too) soon quashed from them by the demands that adults place upon them to draw ‘more realistically’. There seems to be an inexplicable competitiveness between parents as to whose children will be able to first draw ‘properly’, rather than celebrating the sheer joy of the child’s uninhibited creativity while they still have the innocence to enjoy it. For the Usher Flags Commission, I considered the flag as the metaphorical embodiment of certain unquestioned beliefs towards national identity. By using the pre-representational gestures of young children I hope to open space for questioning the extent to which national identity may shape an individual from a very young age, whilst underlining the reality that national identity is nothing more than a part of our social conditioning, in the same way as learning to draw ‘properly’ is. By using the flags as a catalyst for meditating on the beliefs that necessarily allow their existence in the first place, I am ultimately bringing to question the very idea of the use and function of national identity itself. Furthermore, it is our children who will ultimately shape the future and their presence on the flags is therefore also a subtle reminder of that fact.'


Daniel Rapley (b.1979, UK) lives and works in Nottinghamshire. Daniel graduated with a 1st class Fine Art BA from DMU, Leicester in 2001 and then an MA with distinction from Chelsea College of Art in 2011. He has exhibited extensively and his solo exhibition “Covenant” (Payne Shurvell, London, 2012) received widespread critical acclaim. He is an associate member of Backlit, Nottingham and co-founder of Unlimited Imprint: a pdf based art and photography journal. He is the Course Leader of the Art & Design Foundation Diploma at Lincoln Art College and an Associate Lecturer on the BA Photography at Lincoln University.

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