Rini Hurkmans
Flag of Compassion Archive

Founding of the Unda Foundation

The Unda Foundation is part of the conceptual artwork Flag of Compassion.

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 Foundation, or the Board, serves as the conscience of the Flag. It does not make any statements about what and when there is compassion. But it activates and stimulates people and organisations to think about the concept of compassion and challenges them to do something with this Flag. The board has drawn up a policy plan for this.

The first boardmeeting took place on the first of September 2008.

The boardmembers are Herman Bunjes, Bert Steevensz, Suzanne Tesselaar, Marja Bloem, Anna Tilroe and Herman Doeleman.

Chairman Herman Bunjes
Judge, former lawyer

When I raise the flag of compassion
or when I notice on my walks the flag of compassion waving in the wind
my feelings take a much broader flight then when just thinking of the term con-sideration,
which is the official meaning of the word compassion in the dictionary.

The flag, on that spot, on that time, symbolizes
passion, affection, love, emotion and sometimes also pain and suffering,
in which I involve others, or others engage me.
To me therefore the flag of compassion means involvement with each other when we need each other and want to share some of our feelings.

Secretary Bert Steevensz
Art historian

Compassio is the Latin translation of the Greek word sympathos. Both words literary mean fellow-suffering/to sympathize with someone. But what a difference in intensity or even in meaning there is today between these two essentially related words.
The meaning of words changes in the course of time, as times change themselves. ‘What the world needs now is love sweet love’, so the lyric of some decades ago goes. But I think we now are much more in need of compassion, because compassion implicates a more active and intense involvement. Love, compared to compassion, feels almost too detached.
A foundation that aims to propagate compassion has hence my full-hearted support.

Treasurer Suzanne Tesselaar
Organisation advisor, author and teacher

"Compassion" for me means “together” and “passion”, and these two words summerize why I am enthousiastic about the Unda Foundation. When I saw the Flag of Compassion for the second time being manipulated by a twirler, I thought “how wonderful this project is as it brings together people, compassion and empathy.” The specifics of art together with the concern for people; this fits in with my daily work as a communication specialist: to connect people with a goal and a passon in organisations in constant change. Storytelling, the subject of my PhD thesis, is similar to the Flag of Compassion, a symbol for culture and for something that binds and connects people. And that is exactly my interest!

Marja Bloem
Independent curator, critic, exhibition maker

Some images stay in my mind forever. The old, dressed in grey, man performing a ‘prayer’ with the yellow and white Flag of Compassion of the Unda Foundation is one of these. Praying and compassion, in my opinion, are closely related. As compassion is a universal quality it is important to help it spread throughout the world.
Another reason I like the Unda Foundation is that the idea of compassion is understood in a very general way; compassion can be felt for anything, anywhere, it is not related to a specific country, culture or humanitarian problem. Wherever or whenever there is a need, the Flag of Compassion should be raised.
For these reasons I am thus delighted to be on the Board of the Unda Foundation, and to be able to put my energy into raising this flag as often as possible.

Anna Tilroe
Art critic, curator, artistic director of the international sculpture exhibition Sonsbeek 2008

The Flag of Compassion is the most touching flag I know. It is the symbol of our striving for human greatness which, when enslaved, exploited or ignored, causes feelings of emptiness, alienation and isolation. Without this striving we lose hope, together with the perspective of a better future. Compassion is the main principle of both. It is the ability to be attentive and respectful to the other and otherness, to known and unknown forms of life; and to act accordingly. One who knows Compassion is able to see him or her self as part of a whole, as an individual who, like all creatures around him, struggles painfully to develop himself optimally. Compassion is the --painfully achieved-- quality to transcend oneself.