Leon Kahane’s annual edition for the GAK continues themes expressed in much of his work, namely the exploration of geopolitical changes, migration and globalisation. The work entitled OSNC consists of ten reproductions of the flag of the Ocean Steam Navigation Company, an American shipping company founded and financed by Bremen merchants. The flag’s red and white patterned background is a nod to the state flag of Bremen.
While a conventional flag indicates affiliations and is defined by borders, the flag presented here is a symbol of openness to transnational movements. In 1842, the OSNC established the first continuous trade connection between the United States and the European continent. Now as protectionism and nationalist ideologies are gaining ground and issues of one’s own place and location become increasingly urgent, Kahane recalls the economic and historical significance of the Hanseatic City of Bremen and the value of international trade and socio-cultural exchange.