Black Flag

Black Flag, Kiki Smith, 1989

Pictured here is a greatly magnified image of an ovum with protective cells on one side. Reflecting on life and death at the cellular level Kiki Smith implies reproductive capabilities as well as vulnerability to disease.

Scholar Jenni Milbank writes, “The title of the piece juxtaposes the public claim of nation-state, the flag, with the image of something minutely personal, invisible to the naked eye, indisputably feminine, a human egg. A black flag is the opposite of the white symbol of surrender, evoking defiance and anarchy as well as death. Death and life, the nation and the intimate, are counterposed.”

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