Multinational Patriotism

You might think that multinational patriotism would involve pledging allegiance to Barclays, but Onjena Yo’s project, the Multinational Patriot Flag & Blog Series, seeks to re-imagine conventional notions of patriotism in more inclusive, multi-national ways.

This series grows from the desire to see American icons used in a way that represents the United States as the melting pot that it is. As several fellow tweeters observed, images of the U.S. flag, bald eagles and the like are often displayed in profiles throughout social media to indicate a specific brand of patriotism. Too often, many of these “patriots” lack an inclusive view of what “American” is. Unfortunately, this restrictive point of view is not limited to social media profiles… As a child, I remember watching my father, who served 20 years in the Air Force, quietly replace our flag each time it was stolen from our porch by our “neighbors.” I listened to my mother who taught us to assimilate for success but not be a “typical American.” To this day, I am still conflicted when expressing my “patriotism.”

In the blog half of her project, Patriot Survey Says!!, Yo has been collecting “stories honoring your personal multinational journeys.” The other half of the project is vexillographically fascinating: the use of circular, roundel-like combinations of national flags. Each consists of an outer ring made up of elements of a national flag, surrounding an inner disk made up of part of, or elements from, a second nation’s flag.  (Yo sells clothing using these proprietary designs on

These circularized “flags” are organized according to the outer, surrounding ring. For example, here is part of the collection of flags with the United States surrounding other North American flags:



In cases where the non-US flag is based on a star, or stars, an alternative scheme of orbiting stars (the “hybrid header”) is offered in addition to the standard scheme (the “swirl header”). For example:

South Korea is a special case. Rather than representing the flag of South Korea surrounded by a swirl of the US, the order is reversed:


In turn, this formed the basis for a set of Korean diaspora flags:southkorea

There are also designs in which the Canadian flag surrounds the other, for example:


Finally, there are designs in which the US flag swirls around non-national flags are symbols:

To purchase merchandise featuring these designs (and many more), visit Onjena Yo’s Carbon-Fibre Media Redbubble store.


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