Flags are symbols of identity, of pride, of allegiance, of communication and of battles fought. This iconography has intrigued me for the last three years, as I considered the ways these symbols could embody my personal experiences of loss and reconciliation.

Examining personal vulnerability has been an ongoing theme in my work. Open to anyone willing to participate, RELEASE is my first collaborative exploration of the topic. In modern society, we are at once isolated and hyper-connected. Authentic and meaningful interaction is more rare than ever, though we are given every opportunity to communicate. RELEASE interrelates the artist, participants and public by providing a safe platform to contribute painful recollections or private confessions in an investigation of shared experience. The project will be a presentation of anonymous statements and letters acquired utilizing social media and other means, transferred onto fabric and sewn into flags.

Through the symbolic act of displaying and flying the flags, the project will act as a collective catharsis for contributors - the release of emotional burden, making art's role as a means of expression accessible to all and ultimately, a metaphor of common triumph.


RELEASE, in the form of four 8'x5' flags, will be on view for the last two weeks of October in Chicago's Lillstreet Art Center Textile Department Gallery and then atop the center in the Rooftop Project Space for the month of November 2014. Work will be viewable from the CTA Montrose Brown Line elevated tracks and Metra Train tracks, as well as Montrose and Ravenswood Avenues.


If you would like to participate, anonymously send what you need to purge/confess to the address below. The length of your contribution is up to you. It can be as short as a single word or as long as a letter. Keep in mind that how you submit, whether it be handwritten or typed, will be how it appears on the work. Please share this project with anyone you know who may be interested. I will be collecting contributions until mid-September.

I need your help for this to be successful. Thank you!



PO Box 54530

Philadelphia, PA 19148


INSTAGRAM: @emilymanaloruiz #releaseproject