The Maris National Flag Project carries out the following activities
The project’s workshops create Maris paintings of the national flags of the world, with the participation of people around the globe. Each grain of sand in a flag painting symbolizes one person in that country. As participants place a grain on the canvas, they wish for the happiness of the person represented.
Since the workshops are staffed with many volunteer guides, it is easy for anyone to participate, from small kids to adults.
Thought evolves into action. The act of wishing for the happiness of someone in another country while placing a grain of sand on the canvas becomes a first step for the participant to become an active champion of peace. In this way, the workshops foster compassion for others and international mindedness.
Exhibitions of flag paintings made in workshops
Visitors to our exhibitions of national flag paintings experience the desire for peace by touching the flags, smelling their scents, and (if sighted) seeing them.
When all people around the world come to wish for the happiness of strangers, war and discrimination will cease and peace will prevail across our planet. National flags are designs, but they are also interesting material as a contemporary art motif. Each is an outstanding design filled with the hopes of the nation it represents. When these flags are lined up in a number exceeding a certain threshold, quantity turns into quality, and thus they take on a beautiful aesthetic value.
The project seeks to create “196 + 1” flag paintings—the national flags of the 196 members of the United Nations, plus the Refugee Nation flag. As of March 2021, paintings of 138 national flags and the Refugee Nation flag had been completed or started.
Tangibly expressing the hope for happiness
Participants at Maris flag workshops are each given a packet of ten grains of sand to place on the canvas as they wish for the happiness of ten people. First, gel medium is applied to the surface of a prepared acrylic painting of a national flag to function as an adhesive. Next, the grains of sand are placed on the gel, one by one.
Due to the variations in the grains’ shape, gaps and bumps can form, so the trick is to fit them together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The flattest side of each grain is affixed to the gel.
The most important part of this process, however, is to nurture Love & Peace—specifically, the spirit of loving all people around the world as your family.
For this reason, participants are encouraged to think of not only blind people, but all people in the country represented by each flag painting. As of March 2021, three million grains of sand had been embedded in flag paintings by 20,000 participants, representing hopes for the happiness of three million people all around the Earth.