Arts & Entertainment

You Have To See This! Artist Collects Thousands Of Origami Birds To Help Fight Covid-19

Hear how this very special project is inspiring people all over the world while giving back to those fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic.

If you were to walk into the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula in Brussels,Belgium, you would see striking Brabantine Gothic architecture and elaborate stained glass windows dating back to the 11th century.

What you might not expect to see is thousands of multi-colored origami birds suspended from the cathedral's ceiling. The birds were put there by Belgian designer and artist Charles Kaisin as part of an installation to raise funds to help the city fight the coronavirus.

The whimsical installation is meant to show solidarity with the medical workers fighting on the front lines in Brussels, Belgium. Charles Kaisin/Facebook

Kaisin asked the public to send homemade paper birds, folded in Japanese origami style, or drop them at various shops in Brussels, with the promise that each bird contributed to the project would be matched by a donation of 5 Euros from a European energy company.

"In these times of crisis, together we can help fund a COVID-19 special care unit," Kaisin writes on his website. "Together we can show our solidarity with the medical corps by building an Origami installation in their honor."

Packages filled with paper birds of every different color and size came from all over the world, including New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong, raising 101,625 euros (or $119,744 U.S.) to help build two COVID-19 units at the Erasmus hospital in Brussels.

"I had a very serious heart surgery and I was well taken care of by this hospital. It's why I wanted to help them," Kaisin told Reuters.

Artist Charles Kaisin put a call out for submissions of paper origami birds. Charles Kaisin/Facebook

Kaisin installed the 20,325 origami birds he received using thin metal wires, carefully arranging them in a whimsical pattern beneath the cathedral's vaulted ceiling. The installation, called "Origami For Life" is meant to be a symbol of a united Belgium during the pandemic.

Those who participated in the project posted photos of themselves and their origami artwork to social media, using the hashtag #OrigamiForLife.

People have been sharing their origami creations on social media using the hashtag #OrigamiForLife. @charleskaisin

Alongside Origami For Life, Kaisin held an art auction that raised an additional 300,000 euros (that's $353,000 U.S.) for the hospital to support their medical research efforts, including studying the side effects of potential coronavirus treatments.

Visitors are welcome to view the installation at the cathedral every day until the end of August (masks are strongly encouraged).

The Origami For Life exhibit will be open to the public through the end of August. Charles Kaisin/Facebook

What an inspiring way to collaborate with the public while giving back to those who are fighting to end the coronavirus pandemic. We're sure the massive installation is an impressive site to see!

How can you start something good?

According to Kaisin's website, people can continue to donate paper birds until the lockdown is over. There's a tutorial on how to make the birds that you can view here.

The birds can be mailed to:

Atelier Charles Kaisin

36 Quai du Commerce

1000 Brussels, Belgium

If you don't want to make an origami bird, but still want to contribute to the project, you can make a donation to Hospital Erasme by using the following info:

IBAN account number: BE79-2100-4294-0033

Name: Université Libre de Bruxelles (Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50 - 1050 Brussels)

Subject: "Origami for Life"

A tax deduction certificate will be provided for each donation of €40 (that's about $50 U.S.) or more.

You can also help by sharing information about the project and spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #OrigamiForLife.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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