Japanese artist Naoki Onogawa has been fascinated with the traditional art of origami since he was a child. Now, he incorporates the popular craft into his own artwork. Using nothing more than his hands, the artist folds hundreds of tiny origami cranes that are small enough to fit on the tip of his finger. Those minuscule paper creatures are then used as leaves on the delicate branches of his asymmetrical tree-like sculptures.
Onogawa began creating paper cranes after witnessing the devastating effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Amidst all the destruction, he saw a pile of paper cranes placed near the wreckage of a local school and was struck by the sacred and solemn beauty of their presence. From that time on, he was moved to incorporate them into his art and channel their deeper meaning through his own creative process.
“Making a place for origami cranes to exist is part of my creation,” Onogawa tells My Modern Met. “I understand the past history of origami cranes in my own way and bring it into this present era by creating artworks. I believe that each person familiar with cranes has their own history with them. How each person feels about them and holds these cranes in their mind is unique, but it is my hope that my works allow for new dialogue. Through that dialogue, it is my hope that there is something—whatever it is—that stirs the heart of the viewer.”
Several of Naoki Onogawa’s pieces are currently on display through May 5 at the Setouchi City Museum of Art. To see more of his incredible work, follow the artist on Instagram or visit his gallery’s website to commission a piece of your very own.