59 Days of Independence

Artist/Badass Heather Layton and her husband Brian Bailey started a social art project this year called 59 Days of Independence. They are asking people all over the world to celebrate the independence days of countries that have declared independence from Britain. Can you believe there are 59?!

I am honored to be taking part in this project. I started participating early in the year, celebrating Nauru's Independence Day on January 31. I added small Nauru flags to several flag posts on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway here in Philadelphia. Nauru is the smallest country in the world-- 8 square miles, with a population of 10,000 people.


Today I celebrated another island nation in Oceania, Kiribati. Kiribati is recognized as the first country that will be "wiped out by climate change." The nation has purchased land on one of neighboring country Fiji's islands for food security and possibly evacuation.

Kiribati is made of many islands. The country's name is pronounced "Kiri-bass", the local pronunciation of "Gilbert's".

Today I replicated the islands in Clark Park, Philadelphia, featuring some of the words from Kiribati's beautiful national anthem, and the English translation.

The words:


Teirake kaini Kiribati, Anene ma te kakatonga,

Tauraoi nakon te mwioko, Ma ni buokia aomata.

Tauaninne n te raoiroi, Tangiria aomata nako.

Tauaninne n te raoiroi, Tangiria aomata.

Reken te kabaia ma te rau Ibuakoia kaain abara,

Bon reken te nano ae banin Ma te i-tangitangiri naba.

Ma ni wakina te kab'aia, Ma n neboa i eta abara.

Ma ni wakina te kab'aia, Ma n neboa abara.


Stand up, People of Kiribati
Sing with jubilation
Prepare to accept responsibility
And to help each other
Be steadfastly righteous
Love all our people

We will know peace

when all our hearts beat as one,
Love one another
Promote happiness and unity