Showing Heart Through Art

Mia Kabasakalis talks to an artist about his unique commemoration of September 11

Since September 11, people have needed to find ways to express themselves and their emotions about that tragic day. For Pop Zhao, the primary way to express his feelings was through his art. On September 8, Pop Zhao showed his art to the world, unfurling a three-mile long banner of 2,000 American flags along the coast of San Francisco, California.

Unity Through Art

Pop Zhao came up with the idea last year, right after the terrorist attacks. "Being an artist, I thought, ‘what can I do?’ And then I thought that I wanted to create some large-scale work, to bring people together, especially from different communities," he said. "We can express the beauty of diversity, different cultures, and different backgrounds.

Surrounding the flags are panels of red, yellow, green, blue, or black -- the Olympic Colors. "I felt that the spirit of the Olympics brought people together, so that is why I used those colors."

In order to hold up the multi-colored banner, Pop Zhao needed the help of volunteers, and at least 1,500 answered the call. Many were kids and teenagers, and almost all were there to pay their respects to the victims of September 11.

Paying Tribute Through Volunteerism

"It (September 11) affected me in a major way because a lot of innocent people died for no reason, just going to work, or just walking on the street," says Saushi Brokaw, 14, from Oakland California. "I’m here helping out because of those victims, because they lost their lives."

Pop Zhao had strong reasons for unveiling his art in the Bay Area. "The September 11th tragedies happened on the East Coast and we live on the West Coast," Zhao said. "I think that it is a great statement to say that we, the people from the West Coast feel with them. We are united."