Stanley Bermudez's Rebel Flag Statement
January 10, 2011
I grew up in Maracaibo, Venezuela and that is where I did elementary, middle school, and high school. In school, as far as I can remember, I learned about the United States Civil War and slavery. I learned to have a negative view of the Rebel or Dixie Flag. I basically associated the image with slavery, racism, and the KKK. In the early eighties I moved to Houston, TX to go to college and lived there for about 12 years. On one occasion I saw members of the KKK in a street corner waving the rebel flag, which only happened once in 12 years, but did not help change my negative view of the flag. In 1997 I moved to Radford, VA to go to graduate school and on several occasions, while running or bicycling around the area, I saw the rebel flag displayed in front of houses. To be honest, the sight gave me the creeps and still did not help change my negative perceptions of the flag. I currently live in Athens, GA and recently the KKK has had public meetings near Athens which scares me because of their Anti-Latino immigration sentiments, also when visiting the KKK web site the rebel flag is used often. All this things strengthen my negative view of the Dixie flag and the reason for this painting. This painting represents what I feel and think of when I see the flag. However, after living in Georgia for the last 4 years and talking to several people from Georgia, I have also learned that there is a strong heritage and pride associated with the flag that has nothing to do with the KKK or racism. As is the case in many of the paintings, I do I like to show two sides of the coin. I am in the process of creating an accompanying painting of a Rebel flag that shows the image in a more positive manner. I recently attended and presented at the Southeastern College Art Conference in Richmond, Virginia and had a chance to visit the Museum of the Confederacy in that city for my research. The new flag might not change my personal views, but it will help me understand it and tolerate it a little better.