West Philly artist creates origami remembering lives lost to coronavirus

The pandemic’s death toll is climbing each day, but one local artist has created a way to make sure those who died from the virus are remembered.

FOX 29 photojournalist Bill Rohrer explains.

Origami artist Joanna Hutchinson spends a lot of time at a makeshift workshop, inside her West Philadelphia home.

“It’s sort of therapeutic. I get into a rhythm here,” Joanna said.

Folding five by two and ¾-inch red paper. Eight different ways into 100,000 tiny pyramids.

“I thought about different colors as I was designing this sculpture. I settled on red because red is a very powerful color. Red is the color blood and the color of anger,” She said.

Her sculpture will represent each of the first 100,000 lives lost to COVID-19. A number that has more than doubled since May.

“I don’t know 100,000 people and I will never know 100,000 people but this way at least I can kind of touch something that represents all those people that we’ve lost,” She explains.

Joanna is not alone. She has over 200 other origami folders. Complete strangers pitching in throughout 130 cities across the United States and in four countries.

“Each one is handmade so they are all a little bit different, but in essence, they are all the same. I feel that way about people. I mean we all want to be happy and want similar things in life, but everybody is unique in their own take on things. Just like these units. They are all different but they are all the same,” she said.

Joanna plans to have two vase-like sculptures each measuring up to six feet tall. “I just feel for others I guess in this moment. You know, I wear a mask for neighbors and I wear a mask for my friends. I just wanted to do something a little bigger than myself.”

For more information on the project, please click here.


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