Flags are often used in our cultural rituals: e.g. to celebrate something, on memorial days, in sports, to mark a location or to point out a site. When entering a harbour, ships and the authorities on shore would exchange welcome messages, by hoisting signal flags high up in a mast. Inspired by this ritual, visual artist Holger Nickisch designed three large flags, to be hoisted on top of the historic Fort bij Vijfhuizen during the 2016 Ringbiënnale Festval in Haarlemmermeer-polder, The Netherlands. On these three flags is a message in signaling symbols, which translates as “Welcome Stranger”.
As a spin-off of the project, over 230 children from primary schools in municipalities in the vicinity devised their own flag designs with coded messages, inspired by Nickisch´ artwork. These flags were subsequently exhibited at the festival location.