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Yanagi filled a series of interconnecting Perspex boxes with coloured sand to represent the flags of 49 nations. These include nations bordering the Pacific, former colonial powers, and native populations without sovereign territories such as the Maoris and Aborigines. He then released thousands of ants, whose movement distributed the sand from one flag to another. Suggestive of patterns of global migration, the ants gradually eroded the borders between different nations, creating new designs. ‘I question the concept of a nation’, Yanagi has said. ‘A nation, its border and national flag, has become an imaginary fiction.’

November 2006