Explaining the thought process behind the project, Mariana said to UCL's website (visit the article here):
“The flag is made of four used foil blankets, collected from Lesvos Island (Greece), where they were utilised by volunteers and rescue teams to drape the refugees who reach the shores. The blankets prevent hypothermia and offer relief from the cold to refugees whose clothes are often soaking wet after a perilous sea journey. On a symbolic level, the blankets become the rescuers’ open arms and hugs.
“Creating and raising the refugee flag is an attempt to substantiate and elevate the refugees to the status of their most deprived attribute: that of a citizen. A flag is a potent patriotic symbol, and this particular one can function as a means for the re-appropriation of the refugees’ lost citizenship and the celebration of their identity as citizens of a new nation in its own right – a nation on the run to freedom. The raising is an attempt to create and disseminate a powerful social and humanitarian message marked by solidarity.
‘The New EU Flag’ is part of a multifaceted project. Whilst the flag was raised on the UCL flagpole, a string quartet and a singer performed Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, the anthem of the European Union.