Take a look at the world through a musical filter with my latest print: World Anthems.
UPDATE 2021: The rise in nationalism across the globe puts a different spin on this map for me since I did it. I guess it's still a look at patriotism from a positive point of view. I read somewhere that "nationalism is what happens when patriotism gets out of hand". Like most things in a life, a delicate balance. Which is why electing complete self-serving morons as leaders is a bad idea guys... Anyway, maybe my (pre-Trump, pre-Brexit) 2015 optimism will rub off on you if you take a look, I mean, it's worth a try.
A Typographic Map of National Anthems
I got to thinking how every country has a song to represent it, and yet we don't really know what they are. So I started looking into national anthems, and what emerged was a long list of positivity and warmth.
You watch the news and it's easy to be cynical and depressed; The Big Bad World. But take another look - the majority of the song titles the world uses to represent itself paint a different picture.
Words like Freedom, Liberty, Pride, and Unity feature repeatedly across the entire globe, with references to Love, Beauty, Glory, and Bravery being common themes. It's music showcasing the best of humanity on a global scale.
There are a fair few standard and neutral "The National Anthem of..." but in contrast to that, the frequent use of Homeland, Motherland and Fatherland give the warmth of family, comfort and belonging. Have a look through all the anthem titles.
My favourite anthem title has to be Nepal's Hundreds of Flowers. The first line is "Woven from hundreds of flowers, we are one garland that's Nepali". If ever a lyric encompassed diversity, beauty, unity and patriotic pride, that's got to be it.
Overall, I was pleased to find that no matter what corner of the Earth we come from, our national anthems reflect that we have more common values than differences. By stripping the world map of country names and replacing them with these statements, any preconceptions you may have had about an area have the potential to be changed.
Explore the Anthems
I've actually started to quite appreciate the music. Some of them are of course solemn, and some rousing. But mostly they remind me, personally, of happy things: carnivals with marching bands, fairgrounds, the Salvation Army playing Christmas carols, massive singalongs at sporting events, and occasionally, the Mary Poppins soundtrack. Most of them have really good endings too, and you can't beat a big strong finish to a song. So have a play and see what you find.
If you like the map, then you can buy an A1 print of it.
I've used the English translation of the most recent anthem for each UN member state. When there is more than one title for the national anthem of a country, or more than one translation, I've tended to go for the most well known version, or in some cases, the most interesting title or the one that fitted best.
Smaller countries and islands are identified by their 2 letter country code, with their anthem titles in the key.
Disclaimer: I'm not making any political, religious or any other kind of statement with this artwork - there is obviously heaps of history associated with every national anthem. It's just meant to be a celebration of global pride and positivity.