The Flag

The Flag is part of the conceptual artwork “Flag of Compassion“


The Flag of Compassion is a means to express the general human feeling of compassion, independent of political, religious, social or cultural institutions as well as of origin or gender.

The intention behind the design of the Flag of Compassion is to make it part of the ‘family of flags’. It speaks the ‘language’ of regular flags, those representing nations, institutions, corporations, events of all kinds. But the Flag also has artistic qualities that open the possibility of a new meaning. It functions as a symbol of an artistic idea that relates to a universal value: compassion. As such the Flag relates to all human beings.

The Flag of Compassion shows an undulating golden yellow horizontal bar, centrally placed in a white field. The white symbolizes purity, non-violence and peace. The golden yellow represents vital energy, warmth and compassion, as the positive forces of humanity.

The flag is for sale and can be sent via the Foundation as a gift with an optional cover letter supplied by the sender.

How it' s made

The Flag is produced in a large edition and in different sizes. The flag comes with its own certificate and a copy of The Manifesto, can be bought here and at several distribution points.

The beginning


On 29 August 2008 the founding act of the Unda Foundation was passed. The statutes focus on the objective of managing and publicising the Flag of Compassion. The name Unda Foundation was chosen because the flag shows a golden-yellow wave in a white field. Wave is in Latin “Unda”.


The first public presentation of the Flag of Compassion takes place during the demonstration against the war in Iraq in Amsterdam on March 22, not as statement for or against the war, but as concern for all the people involved


The Flag of Compassion is designed.

Distribution network

The Distribuition Network is part of the conceptual artwork “Flag of Compassion’

We hope that you will also actively contribute to our efforts to ensure that people around the world recognise and use the Flag of Compassion so that the concept of compassion has and maintains a central, innovative place in society. You are therefore doing us a favour by sharing your expressions of the Flag with us.

* Flag of Compassion is active on Facebook Instagram and Linkedin. On this website  you will see pictures and stories of people who buy the Flag and use it for different reasons:

* The Flag is bought as a work of art; a collector can give the Flag (and this the concept of compassion) a place within his/her collection.

* The Flag is bought as a utensil to flag outside as an expression of compassion.

* The Flag is also purchased for use at weddings and other special occasions, such as PhD promotions, as a symbol and as a gift.

* The Flag is offered to heads of state to promote the concept of compassion. (e.g. Queen Beatrix, the Daila Lama)

* The Flag is used during specific demonstrations.

* The Flag is shown at exhibitions (e.g. Sonsbeek 2008: Grandeur and Not Normal, Difference on Display).

* Flag wavers use the Flag to perform a flag game.


From the beginning of her career, Rini Hurkmans is concerned with topics such as absence, loss, disruption, alienation and the related concepts of safety, security, identity and compassion. This can be perceived in the photo series Pietà, in the films Dear SonThe Flavor of Salt and Don Quixote but also in the sculptures The White Shroud and The Inner Garden.

Life, art and politics are intertwined in a continuous dialogue and each specific period requires its own thoughts, strategies and forms.
Hurkmans initiated the conceptual artwork Flag of Compassion in 2002 out of the desire to go beyond the framework of cultural consensus and consumption. Since 2008, she is an advisor to the Unda Foundation, the foundation that manages the artwork and also organizes a series of Making Waves events around themes related to Flag of Compassion. By engaging with the Flag, it is investigated how a work of art can activate ethical questions in society and how it can function both within the arts and in society. Hurkmans is the driving force behind the book Compassion. A Paradox in Art and Society (Valiz, 2017) in which Flag of Compassion is discussed as a case study.

She is currently conducting further research into the concept of loss in relation to ethics and politics and is developing new work based on her working period as Artist in Residence at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome in 2019. Her research into the press photo she bought in 1992, and which inspires her work ever since, of the moment Michelangelo’s Pietà was attacked in 1972, serves as the starting point for the work in progress.