Wicked Local Malden | Article | 7/16/2019

Malden artist Kari Percival will collaborate with artist Marilyn Artus on “Her Flag,” a tribute in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

On June 8, Artus began a 14-month journey across the U.S. in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020. “Her Flag” is a tribute to all the men and women who worked to give women the right to vote in the U.S.

“Her Flag” will be created throughout the course of her travels, which will take place in the order of the amendment’s ratification. During her travels she will collaborate with women artists in each state, sewing a stripe designed by each onto “Her Flag,” which will ultimately measure 18 feet tall by 26 feet wide when complete in 2020. She will collaborate with 36 women artists who each currently live in one of the 36 states that ratified the 19th Amendment. Each of the artists has designed one stripe for the 36-stripe flag, created in their own artistic voice. Artus will sew the stripe onto the flag at a live event in the capital city of each state.

“I am on a mission to make sure that every woman I come in contact with over the next 14 months is registered to vote and gets out in 2020 to put that registration to use,” said Artus. “But celebrating this anniversary isn’t just about women. This was a fight. It took Democrats and Republicans and men and women and black and white Americans working together to get this amendment passed. ‘Her Flag’ is a not a political piece of work, rather a powerful, positive symbol used to educate and celebrate this truly momentous American anniversary.”

“When I took a deep dive into researching the role of Massachusetts early suffrage activists, I was moved by the history I found,” said Percival. “The fight against slavery in this state sparked a radical, intersectional civil rights movement for ‘Equality before the law, without regard for sex or color’ that challenged structures of power. As far back as the 1830s, women of color and white women, moved by the injustice of slavery to speak in public, encountered violent resistance because of their gender. They realized they had even more work to do and the work continued through generations: In the 1850-70s, they convened, debated and signed petitions. They edited newspapers, wrote books and gained partial suffrage. From 1880s through 1900, they built coalitions with unions and clubs. Through the 1900-20, they lobbied and rallied and coaxed the popular idea of women’s suffrage from radical to fashionable to obvious.”

Percival is an illustrator and spectacle artist in Malden. She works in an illustration style informed by 20 years of woodcut printmaking. One of the lead artists of Wonderland Spectacle Company, she earned her bachelor’s in fine art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work can be viewed at https://karipercival.com.