Sonya Clark: Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know

By Sonya Clark

Foreword by Susan Lubowsky Talbott

Texts by Valerie Cassel Oliver and W. Fitzhugh Brundage


6.5 x 9.25 inches
112 pages
60 color illustrations
ISBN: 9780998701868

In the spring of 1865, a seemingly unremarkable dishcloth played a crucial role in ending the Civil War as the South’s flag of surrender at Appomattox. A Confederate horseman carried a humble white linen towel into the lines of General George Custer, near the courthouse at Appomattox. The horseman was sent on behalf of General Robert E. Lee, who was requesting a suspension of hostilities while General Ulysses S. Grant proposed terms of surrender.

Focusing on this Confederate Flag of Truce, Afro-Caribbean American artist (and professor at Amherst College) Sonya Clark (born 1967) explores the legacy of symbols and challenges the power of propaganda, erasures and omissions through her works. By making the Truce Flag—a cloth that brokered peace and represented the promise of reconciliation—into a monumental alternative to the infamous Confederate Battle Flag and its pervasive divisiveness, Clark instigates a role reversal and aims to correct a historical imbalance.

Additional information

Weight 1.5 lbs
Dimensions 9.25 × 6.5 × .5 in

About the Author

Sonya Clark (born 1967, Washington, D.C.) has received numerous awards, including the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Educator Award (2018), Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2016), ArtPrize Juried Grand Prize (co-winner, 2014), Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2010 and 2011), and Pollock Krasner award. Her work has been exhibited in more than 350 museums and galleries throughout the world. For 12 years, Clark served as a professor and chair of the Department of Craft and Material Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. She is currently Professor of Art and the History of Art at Amherst College where she received an honorary doctorate in 2015. Deeply committed to the field of craft, Clark has also served on the board of the American Craft Council (Minneapolis, MN), Textile Museum (Washington, DC), and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, ME).