Harry C. Moore Library Spotlight On Amy Collins

By in News on April 28, 2012

Artist Amy Collins with her Origami crane installation

Too often, art classes act in an “academic vacuum” said College of The Bahamas art instructor, John Cox. To give his advanced students experience in the local art world and to “breathe life into the art program” at The College of The Bahamas, he helps them plan and carry out site-specific art pieces.

The latest location is the new building at The College of The Bahamas, the state-of-the-art Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre – fitting since Harry C. Moore was a lifelong patron of the arts.

“I think a lot of people don’t know what a supporter of the arts he was and these pieces bring attention to it,” said Cox. “It presents a present and future effort to make the library a monument to contemporary visual expression.”

Over the next few weeks, Arts&Culture will be examining the installations in this library by his Art 400: Advanced Painting students.

Located just to the right when entering the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at The College of The Bahamas is a cascade of a thousand cranes illuminated behind glass.

The display adds a thoughtful cultural element to the institution with its impressive undertaking of ancient Japanese art of paper folding, Origami. Yet behind such a breathtaking display is a single artist’s focused intention through the symbolic act of folding paper cranes to change her path.

Artist Amy Collins set about the task of folding the 1,000 cranes out of paper for her project after her experience with Origami for another assignment, yet the task became more about process than product.

“I researched and the Origami crane has a lot of history – in my research I found a saying that if you fold a thousand cranes, you get your greatest wish,” she said. “ I had been going through a rough patch in my life. I was in the education program and I didn’t want to be – I was searching for a way out.”

“When I started making these I kind of found a new beginning – I was offered an apprenticeship for tattoo design and I’ll be starting that in May and hopefully then coming home and having my own shop next year,” she continued. “So it actually did help me make decisions. You sit there and folding and folding and folding, so you have a lot of time to think.”

Some may already know the story of the young Japanese girl Sadako Sasaki who popularized folding one thousand paper cranes to gain a wish, said Collins. After being exposed to radiation from one of the atom bombs dropped over Japan in the Second World War, Sasaki aimed to fold a thousand paper cranes. She died before she could complete the task, so her classmates folded the remaining amount, and the act – along with Sasaki’s story – has become a testament to world peace.

“That was one of the stories I came upon and thought it was touching. It was one of the stories I took inspiration from and thought I’d give it a try,” said Collins. “It was a great teacher in patience and learning patience.”

As hanging one thousand cranes in a space is believed to be a lucky charm, having this piece itself in the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Center is no error, says the artist.

With each color symbolizing a wish – red for love and friendship, purple for bravery, and white and cream for purity and good intention – Collins hopes the installation positively impacts the students working in the space as much as making them impacted her.

“I wanted it to be in here because I wanted people to take something from it,” said Collins. “I wanted them to be in a place where it represents how people feel when they are in schools and making decisions.”

“I hope people will see their journey will be a beautiful thing if they work hard enough. I’d like people to see them and feel a sense of calm.”

Sonia Farmer
Arts & Culture
The Nassau Guardian
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012

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