Archie Moore - New Flags
This activity is designed to help students understand the power of symbols and develop empathy for people who feel misrepresented.
Archie Moore researched a map of Australia made by non-Aboriginal anthropologist RH Mathews in 1900. The map misrepresented Aboriginal Australia in its identification of 28 Aboriginal 'nations', and from Moore’s perspective was more imaginary than factual.
In United Neytions (2017), Moore invents a flag for each of the 28 mapped 'nations' using colour, symbols and patterns. Typically, flags that are designed to represent a real place will try and reflect the identities of the people who live there. However, since Moore does not see Mathews’s map as being representative of reality, he creates an imaginative interpretation of these 28 ‘nations’ through his flags. In doing so, he asks: can we always rely on flags and maps to tell us the truth about history and identity?
Working in pairs, challenge yourself to invent a flag based on a place that you know very little about.
This activity is designed for stages 3-4.
- Get into pairs.
- Think of a place you have been recently. It could be a place that is indoors or outdoors, somewhere you went on holiday to or somewhere near your house or school.
- Write down three simple things that you remember about this place. For example, you might choose to write down a colour, a smell, the animals you saw or what the weather was. Don't give too much information away about your place!
- Pass your description to your partner.
- Design a flag that represents the information you have been given. In your overall design think about:
- The sorts of symbols you might use.
- Colour choices.
- The use of pattern and repetition.
- Present your flag to your partner, explaining how you represented the information they provided.
You will need
- Writing and drawing materials
- As a group, discuss the process of imagining your partner's place as a flag. How did you come up with the colours, symbols and patterns for your design?
- What are the problems with creating a flag for a place without knowing very much about it and having to imagine the rest?
- Do you feel your partner’s flag accurately represents the place you described? Explain why.
- Do you think that it's important that we update maps and flags as time goes on? Why?
- Who should be in charge of writing maps and designing the national flag?