Cranes Bring Peace to Transy

by Martha Stephens

Cranes have landed at Transy. These were no ordinary cranes, however. They were paper cranes, made by art students in the Japanese origami style.

Professor Kurt Gohde’s introduction to visual art class made 500 paper cranes out of hate literature. This literature ranged from Ku Klux Klan applications to harsh magazine articles about celebrities. The project was created to make something beautiful out of something ugly and spread it around.

The cranes were found everywhere, from tables at the Raf to Front Lobby, placed in trees and on steps. They were meant to be picked up and either read or simply kept.

“Whenever I would walk around campus, people would ask me what the cranes were doing there,” said sophomore Kellie Davis, a student in Gohde’s class.

“Someone in the Beck Center said every time she would walk out of her office, there were more cranes everywhere!” junior Kendra DeArk, another art student, remarked.

Before making the cranes, Gohde’s class learned about the Japanese story of “One Thousand Paper Cranes.” This story is about Sadako Sasaki, a little girl from Hiroshima, Japan, who was diagnosed with leukemia. This disease was caused by the atom bomb, which was dropped when Sadako was two years old. When she was twelve, she was hospitalized and given a year to live.

There is a Japanese legend that says if a person folds 1,000 paper cranes, they will be granted one wish. Sadako began folding, but only was able to fold 644 cranes before her death in 1955. Her schoolmates finished the remaining cranes and Sadako was buried with them. The cranes represent peace in the world.
Today, there is a memorial park in Japan that commemorates all the children who became victims of the atom bomb. Many groups around the world send paper cranes to the park in order to share in the goal of world peace.

The project completed by Gohde’s class served to show people that good can come from bad situations. Many students chose magazine articles that promoted unhealthy ideals for people in terms of weight and beauty. Some students used Mein Kampf, Hitler’s famous novel that upheld racist and anti-Semitic ideas.

This may not be the last project that the art class shares with the Transy community, either. “We will be doing more projects later that will rely on campus interaction,” Gohde foreshadowed.

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