UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 17 Fall 23 Library
Professor Sanda Iliescu and 100 volunteers painted Dark Flag (2023, acrylic on canvas, with embroidery thread, 3' x 5') as a meditation on the tragedy of gun violence in America. Photo: Dan Addison, University Communications.
School of Architecture

Sanda Iliescu's Dark Flag Painting Acquired for the University's Permanent Art Collection

The painting Dark Flag, a recent acquisition to the University of Virginia's permanent art collection, is metaphorically cloaked in a question—what does the American flag and the country it represents mean to you? The artist, University of Virginia School of Architecture Professor Sanda Iliescu raised this seemingly simple, yet arduous question when she and the 14 students in her Painting & Public Art course created a canvas painted with the American flag in somber blacks and grays in the months following the tragic killing of UVA students Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry. The greyscale depiction of the stars and stripes was placed in Campbell Hall’s public "Naug" lounge, where 100 volunteers and members of the UVA community contributed to the making of the work—a meditation on the tragedy of gun violence in America. 

(Photo: Dan Addison)

Many contributors added writing and drawings on the flag and, in one case, stitchwork. Early on, someone wrote in bold lettering, the names: DevinLavelD’Sean. From then on, Dark Flag became a memorial to the three slain students, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry. The painting was on view in Ruffin Hall as part of the UVA Department of Art’s 2023 graduation exhibition, In Memoriam: Works by and for D’Sean Perry (dedicated to Perry, who was a studio art major) and will be shown again in the university's newly renovated Alderman Library.

Want a bit more?

Read: Flying the Flag Darkly: Staff and Students Use Art To Ask Gun Violence Questions
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