Kelly Burke – Reimagined American Flag: “All Lives Matter”

Kelly Burke – Reimagined American Flag: “All Lives Matter”


oil on canvas

54″ x 108 “

1 in stock


With this painting I convey the diversity within the US by putting the world’s flags into the stripes. I both symbolize our nation’s internal diversity and criticize its hypocritical xenophobia. I demonstrate that words matter by integrating the controversial phrase “all lives matter” into the painting. The change from “Black” to “All” in the phrase “All Lives Matter” was used negatively to shift attention away from the just concerns of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. If they really mean that ALM then why do they oppose the BLM movement? This change in wording raised for me as well the “red flags” of xenophobia, anti-immigration, and discrimination against others based on nationality, ethnicity, and race. The same people who embraced “ALM” against “BLM” may well have also hypocritically supported these positions. Still I decided not to dismiss but rather to engage with those who argued “All Lives Matter” in opposition to “Black Lives Matter” by pushing their phrase to what I saw as its logical end. Do they really mean to include the full diversity of Americans who make up the US as fully American as they think themselves to be? This flag also visually represents the “tossed salad” rather than “melting pot” metaphor as more appropriate for accepting the distinct cultural, ethnic, and racial identities in the US. I created an American flag that I think better represents the US as an immigrant and multi-racial nation.  Thus, this flag challenges those who embraced the ALM over BLM phrase to more deeply examine what they mean by using it. Words matter.