Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive! - Vol. XVI No. 3 - July 2007

Origami Whale Curtain

Peggy Oki's Origami Whale Curtain is art with a conscience. The brightly colored display of 30,000 folded paper origami whales represents the whales killed since the commercial whaling moratorium was put into effect in 1986. People who have experienced it speak of being deeply moved, even crying as they walked the maze of whales moving gently as one passes, overcome with the visual weight of so much death, stimulated by so much flowing color.

Origami whale curtain

Peggy's energy and perseverance overcame many, many obstacles to make her brilliant concept a reality; we know because we've been trying to help her since the last IWC meeting in St. Kitts. The hundreds of volunteers who folded and strung the whales included Kate O'Connell's daughter, Cynthia, and Connecticut friends, and Kate somehow found those origami whales in the 30,000 displayed! Just enough contributions flowed in to get the curtain where it needed to be, displayed at the IWC meeting and other venues in Anchorage. Who can say if a vote was made by an IWC Commissioner remembering the sensation and message of the curtain, but the public and media voted with their praise, and Peggy's hard-won effort was a heralded success. The curtain continues to be shown, currently at Sea Shepherd's art exhibit: Curtain of Origami Whales for Operation Ragnarök. It deserves your help to get its message out. If you know of a likely venue please contact CSI. We're very proud to have helped.

Origami whale curtain

Who is Peggy Oki? That depends upon whom you ask. Any rollerbladers in your family? Peggy was the only female lead in "Dogtown and Z Boys". If you have no idea what that means don't embarrass yourself by admitting it, but you can really impress the right people just by saying you know her. As a champion rollerblader she travels to cities hosting a "Peggy Oki Skate Day", but with a motive; in all her appearances she always talks about whales. As a mountain climber she's known and respected by an elite cadre. As an artist her work is in great demand; to get one of Peggy's very special cards elevates the day. She's extraordinary, and her passion is saving whales, and that's why we are so very pleased to say that we know her.

Kate O'Connell with the Whale Curtain

Kate O'Connell with the Whale Curtain.
Photo by Barbara Kilpatrick.

Go to next article: A Wild Meeting: CITES Maintains The Ban On Trade In Whale Products, But Not Without A Fight or: Table of Contents.

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