Patron Saint Days

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The month of March provides two countries of the United Kingdom with days that commemorate patron saints.

To acknowledge this, I decided to experiment and give Wales and Northern Ireland my graphic LGBT+ pride flag map treatment.

My first trial of Wales, for St David’s Day on 01 March, went well. Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow gay pride flag applied itself smoothly to the geometric map I’d drawn. And even though this country is physically joined to England, the resulting shape was recognisably Wales. It seemed to strike a chord with the online Welsh community too, with @jonnynoire on Twitter saying “Love this… 😍😍”. Thanks Jonny!

The second observation of Northern Ireland, for St Patrick’s Day on 17 March, wasn’t quite as successful. To begin with I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working. But ultimately I decided it was because we are so unused to seeing a map of Northern Ireland in isolation.

This led me think that as St Patrick’s Day is celebrated by the Republic of Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland, could I apply my design to the whole island of Ireland? In order to do this I needed to consider how I show that this landmass consists of two quite separate countries.

I struck upon the idea of employing Daniel Quasar’s Progress Pride flag for this task, which adds five additional colours to Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow gay pride flag: black and brown representing marginalised LGBTQ+ communities of colour, those living with HIV and AIDS, and those no longer living; plus light blue, pink and white found on the transgender pride flag.

Initial sketches I did, confirmed that by flipping this flag, and rotating it by 45°, I was able contain different parts of the flag within the two countries. Even the inclusion of Lough Neagh as a diamond, in Northern Ireland, introduced an element from the flag’s white stripe, which isn’t really visible on the final design.

So Happy St Patrick’s Day to the LGBTQ+ communities on the island of Ireland. I hope you approve of my artistic treatment of your map. And if I receive sufficient interest, then I’ll consider applying this design to greetings cards and t-shirts.

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