The lobby of Emory Crawford Long Hospital has been transformed into an art museum. For the next six months, it will be home to "Cosmos," the latest work by Kyoko Ibe, a Japanese artist who specializes in washi, a traditional handmade Japanese paper. The large-scale work will be suspended from the ceiling in the 3-story atrium of the Medical Office Tower.
Ibe's "Cosmos" was designed specifically for Emory Crawford Long Hospital, and it consists of flocks of colorful paper birds flying among flowing white handmade paper that seem to float atop the atrium's 18-foot trees, Each piece weighs no more than a few pounds, but the delicate installation was a full-period process.
"Ever since the renovation of Emory Crawford Long Hospital was completed, I thought this space was crying out for some artwork," says Al Blackwelder, COO for Emory Crawford Long Hospital. "Patients and visitors often come to the hospital under stressful circumstances, so we want to be able to provide a soothing environment. Kyoko's work reflects a serene and uplifting sentiment that is perfect for a hospital, and we are honored to have it on display."
"Nature is my greatest inspiration," explains Ms. Ibe. "My work is a visualization of the energy of a space, and paper is my medium. The Emory Crawford Long Hospital atrium is the perfect space for my art. The windows bring in light, and the constant motion of doors opening and closing while people move through the lobby creates the kind of energy my art needs."
The power of art in healing is very important to Ms. Ibe. She did her first hospital installation in 2004, after a series of deaths in her family. She drew strength from her art, and found that the energy of her artwork helped hospital visitors during their difficult time.
The making of washi, Ms. Ibe's medium, is a complicated and intricate process that uses the fibers of the inner bark of three Japanese plants. Paper has an important and rich history in Japanese culture, being used in ceremonies, rituals, and festivals throughout Japan's history. Today there are only a few hundred families who make washi, which is typically used for Japanese arts and crafts, in the traditional way. However, Ms. Ibe has expanded the limits of papermaking to include three-dimensional artwork, sculpture, costumes, and wallpaper. Her work has received numerous awards and has been displayed in over 20 countries.
"Emory Crawford Long Hospital is redefining expectations for a hospital, and our hope is that patients and visitors will welcome this very unique artwork," says Mr. Blackwelder.
The installation of Ms. Ibe's exhibit at Emory Crawford Long Hospital was made possible through a partnership with the Japan Foundation and the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech.
Ms. Ibe's installation, entitled "Akai Ito," is on display in the lobby of the paper museum. Which is located at 500 10th St., in Atlanta. For details and to learn more about papermaking, visit the museum's website, www.ipst.gatech.edu.