F1 Ukrainian flag collage, framed.

One thing my grandma taught me was to never stop learning. It’s sound advice I have always remembered.

In 2022, I decided I wanted to get back into making art. While prose and poetry are their own forms of art, I find when the flashbacks hit the hardest, I can’t write, but I can make things. The science behind why language fails me during such times is fascinating and I’ll write about that later on.

My love of Formula 1 played a huge role in what I made. I settled on making a collage using blue, yellow, and blue & yellow liveries from F1 to create the Ukrainian flag.

If you look closely at the bottom center, you will see the face and fangs of a snake, which was on the 1997 Jordan-197 car.

F1 Ukrainian flag collage, unframed.

The 197 stood out for its bright yellow “snake” livery. The car had a snake’s eye and fang painted on either side of the nosecone, forked tongues that extended along the sides from the nosecone to the driver’s cockpit, and numerous scale effects on other parts of the car. At Grands Prix held in countries that did not allow tobacco advertising, the Benson & Hedges labels were replaced with the snake-related “Bitten & Hisses”, or “Ssssschuey” and “Fisssssssi”.

Giancarlo Fisichella, better known as Fisi, was the first driver I followed in F1 and is still one of my favorite drivers. He is in this collage five times. I purposely chose his car with the fangs overhanging onto another car below. The driver in the car below is Vladimir Putin, who had a test drive with Renault in 2010. That’s right. I purposely put Putin in a piece of art which celebrates the Ukrainian people and made the implication that a snake will attack him.

When the war in Ukraine began earlier this year, I followed it closely. I still follow a highlight of daily events, but my mental health cannot bear the minute details of every moment of every day. My hope is the war will end soon as no one wanted war. No one should have to endure the trauma they are forced to endure due to the evil of someone else.

The best part of all making the collage was when I submitted my post to Reddit. I found out today is the Day of the National Flag of Ukraine. It was a complete coincidence as I had no idea the day even existed.

This holiday is based “on the commemoration of the centuries-old history of Ukrainian statehood, the state symbols of independent Ukraine, and with the aim of raising citizens’ respect for the state symbols of Ukraine” according to the decree of President Leonid Kuchma dated August 23, 2004. In 2009, changes were made to this decree, and an annual official flag-raising ceremony was established on August 23 throughout Ukraine.

Like my grandma said, never stop learning. I made some art and I learned something new because of it.