Collection Artwork
2016 14 215 pr w01
Corita Kent (Fort Dodge, Iowa, 1918 – 1986, Boston, Massachusetts)
manflowers
1969
serigraph
Hambly Studios (Santa Clara, California, established 1959 – 2012)
paper size: 23 x 12 in.
Gift of Harry Hambly, serigrapher, Hambly Studios
printed in Santa Clara, California, United States, North America
2016.14.215
69-72

Object Label

One of the fundamental principles of the ecosexuality manifesto is a commitment to activism: it claims that world peace is essential for the health of our global ecosystem and encourages the end of war because according to Stephens & Sprinkle’s 25 Ways to Make Love to the Earth, “bombs really hurt” the planet. In manflowers, Kent pairs an image of two wounded soldiers, one tending to the other, with the exclamation “Man-power!” and the title of the antiwar folk song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” first written in 1955 by Pete Seeger. When this work was printed in 1969, the United States was in the middle of the Vietnam War, and the peaceful protests inspired by the “flower children” during the so-called Summer of Love had escalated into violent rioting against the war and the US government. Kent, who promoted peace and love as the most effective form of activism, uses the song title to reference a shift toward violence in protest tactics. The circular lyrics follow the life cycle of flowers during war, beginning with girls picking them to give to young men and ending with flowers growing on the graves of young soldiers.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson, 1960

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls picked them, ev’ry one.

Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone to young men, ev’ry one.

Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?
Where have all the young men gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young men gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers, ev’ry one.

When will we ever learn? Oh, when we ever learn?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, ev’ry one.

When will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, ev’ry one.

When will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?
–Caroline Coxe ’20

From the exhibition: Lover Earth
Art and Ecosexuality (May 30 – August 23, 2020)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Learn more

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Lover Earth
Art and Ecosexuality
Exhibition
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Bernardo Ramirez Rios on Sister Corita Kent & Chicano/a Art in Los Angeles
Essay
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Jeffrey Gibson on Inspiration from Corita Kent
Video
Interview
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Molly Channon on Corita Kent’s G O greatest show of worth, 1968
Essay
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