boerenzakdoek kiribati,
red . blue . white . symbol
60 x 60 cm
oil on canvas
©arttrust 2009


since 1979

The Flag of Kiribati : the upper half is red with a gold frigatebird flying over a gold rising sun, and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the ocean and the 3 groups , Phoenix and Line Islands. The 17 rays of the sun represent the 16 Gilbert Islands and Banaba. The badge was designed by Sir Arthur Grimble in 1932 for the Gilbert and Ellice Islands British colony. Kiribati's flag is one of only 3 national flags that are armorial banners- flags having a design corresponding exactly to that of the shield in the coat of arms. The coat of arms dates back to May 1937 when it was granted to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, as Kiribati and Tuvalu were then known. The shield was incorporated into the center of the fly half of a British Blue Ensign as the state ensign of the colony. Shortly before independence was granted in 1979, a local competition was held to choose a new national flag, and a design based on the colonial coat of arms was submitted to the College of Arms. Both the golden frigate bird and the sun were enlarged to occupy more of the top of the flag, and the width of the blue and white wavy bands was reduced. The local people, however, insisted on the original design, in which the top and bottom halves of the flag were equal, the sun and local frigate bird small, and the various design elements outlined in black. The new flag was hoisted during the independence day celebrations in the capital, Tarawa, on July 12, 1979. The frigate bird symbolizes command of the sea, and the blue and white wavy bands represent the Pacific Ocean. The bird is a frigate bird which represents power, freedom and Kiribati cultural dance patterns. The rising sun is the tropical sun as Kiribati lies astride the Equator. The sea is the Pacific Ocean which surrounds Kiribati.

source: wikipedia