Designed to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the pale blue flag has a footprint made up of white dots at its centre.
Co-commissioned by Coventry City of Culture, the design was inspired by Ai’s time spent visiting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who were forced to flee attacks in the Southeast Asian region of Burma. He noticed that nearly everyone was barefooted.
He sees the bare footprint as a symbol that relates to anyone who has ever been forced to flee. He took 100 muddy footprints of people young and old in various locations, and combined them in his design.
“It’s about human identity,” says Ai. “Human rights is not a given property, but rather something we can only gain from our own defence and fight.”
“Not many ideas can relate to this very broad, but also very special, topic,” he explains. “As humans, as long as we can stand up or can make a move, we have our footprint.”
Over the next six months flags will be made available to school and community groups and individual citizens alongside new resources to increase awareness and understanding of human rights.
In June 2019, the flag will be flown across the country for 7 days marking 70 years since the universal declaration of human rights.
Flown both physically and digitally, the flag will remind people of the international commitment made to ensure a minimum standard of safety and dignity to every human being.
Education packs have been produced, by the Donmar Warehouse in collaboration with Liberty, to creatively explore Fly The Flag. Designed to support the Citizenship and PSHE curriculum for Key Stages 1-5, the education packs support teachers and young people to engage with human rights issues. The packs are available to download for free at flytheflag.org.uk from 10 December 2018.