It’s a simple, but powerful word. It gives people courage. It offers people direction and motivation. It’s the seed of revolutions. And it changes people’s lives.
So does art.
Art is a vehicle for hope. Art is a vehicle for change. It can be personal or cultural. It can be individual or systemic. Art opens doors for people in dark times and offers motivation, inspiration and joy in the best of times. That’s why, in a season of thankfulness, I want to share the story of 1,000 paper cranes.
In many Asian cultures, the crane is a symbol of longevity and good fortune. It was believed that cranes could live for 1,000 years and that their wings carried people’s souls to paradise.
Enter Sadako Sasaki, from Japan. Sadako was only 12 years old when she discovered she had radiation induced leukemia. It was 1955 and only 10 years since the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The cancer spread quickly and within a month she was hospitalized, with little likelihood of surviving.
Perhaps to bring his daughter hope, Sadako’s father shared the story of 1,000 paper cranes. It is Japanese story and tradition that when someone folds 1,000 paper cranes their wish will come true. Sadako began folding cranes, openly wishing to survive her cancer. Around 1500 cranes later, she died a year after her diagnosis.
This young girl’s passion and hope for her survival drove her to create. And her passion and story spread. Friends began folding cranes to ensure Sadako’s memory. Money was saved and a memorial was created, a statue of Sadako holding a paper crane. Sadako became a symbol of hope, a desire for peace and restoration worldwide.
During this holiday season I encourage you to share the story of Sadako and her paper cranes. How can you bring hope to the lives of those around you? How can you cultivate hope in your own life?
Can art be that vehicle?
Resources for today’s article include: