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Home / Art and Culture / Los Angeles-based artist creates origami crane memorial for Covid-19 victims

Los Angeles-based artist creates origami crane memorial for Covid-19 victims

Karla Funderburk started making these origami cranes three months ago, stringing the paper swans in pink, blue, yellow and many other colours together and hanging them in her art gallery.

art-and-culture Updated: Aug 14, 2020 21:19 IST
Saumya Sharma
Saumya Sharma
Hindustan Times, Delhi
An origami paper crane hangs in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles, among thousands of others during an exhibit for those who have died in the U.S., of COVID-19, on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.
An origami paper crane hangs in the Matter Studio Gallery in Los Angeles, among thousands of others during an exhibit for those who have died in the U.S., of COVID-19, on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

An exhibition called ‘Honoring Matter: A Memorial for the Victims of Covid-19’ has been set up by an artist in Los Angeles as an effort to memorialise each of the thousands of people who have lost their lives from Covid-19 in the United States. A delicate origami crane hangs at the artist’s studio called the Matter Studio, where the exhibition is now being held.

Karla Funderburk started making these origami cranes three months ago, stringing the paper swans in pink, blue, yellow and many other colours together and hanging them in her art gallery.

The crane is auspicious in Japanese culture and according to legend, folding of a thousand paper cranes can make the heart’s desire come true. The origami crane has hence become a symbol of peace. This practice also has a folklore attached to it that tells the story of a young girl named Sadako Sasaki.

SEE PHOTOS: Los Angeles artist pays tribute to Covid-19 victims through Origami crane exhibition

“I was feeling the loss, and one way to process that was I started folding cranes. Cranes are a traditional Japanese symbol of carrying the soul to heaven,” Funderburk told the Associated Press.

She tried making 10 cranes each night but when on May 14 the number of deaths ticked to 88,000 she realised it would take her 24 years to complete them and she asked for help and has also posted about this initiative on her Instagram handle.

 

Now volunteers drop off scores of the elegantly made paper swans daily.

“I started receiving boxes and bags. Sometimes I would get one crane with one name on it, some boxes had 300,” she said.

Hundreds of cranes now hang from the ceiling of her Matter Studio with others sitting on tables and stacked in boxes waiting to be added to the sad reminder of the virus’ toll. The gallery’s website also lists hundreds of names of virus victims.

“I feel like this space is holding, holding the place, for the remembrances of the souls we are losing,” she said.

Funderburk had a total of 9,300 cranes as of Thursday. More than 165,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A similar initiative, called Origami for Life, is making waves simultaneously in Belgium where artist Charles Kaisin aims to raise funds for Hospital Erasme by creating Origami art using over 20,000 origami shaped as birds. This art installation has been put up at the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula by thin wires suspended from the ceiling.

Origami is a portmanteau of the Japanese words, Ori (to fold) and Kami (paper).

-- with AP inputs

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