A flock of more than 1,000 paper cranes have come home to roost in Aberdeen as part of a mental health-boosting community project.
Hundreds of people have contributed to the new art installation which has been unveiled at the Frederick Street Health Village.
The colourful origami birds have been suspended on wires, as if they are in flight, allowing anyone who walks through the doors to marvel at the display.
Local artist Janet Liddel spearheaded the project after finding inspiration on a family walk during the coronavirus lockdown.
Inspiration from ‘sanctuary’ on the riverbank
Janet Liddel’s project yielded more than 1,000 origami cranes.As they ventured along the banks of the River Don, the Stoneywood family built a small, impromptu den.
In the weeks which followed, they noticed others had also stumbled upon their creation, decorating it with artwork, flowers and painted rocks.
Mrs Liddel said: “It really began to feel like a little sanctuary on our daily walks.
“It felt like a little ‘hello’ from our neighbours and made us feel like we weren’t alone, even though some days we might not see or speak to another soul.
“We really valued the den and the unexpected additions that appeared over the weeks.”
Disaster struck shortly after the restrictions began to lift, as one day the family found their treasured den had been vandalised.
But after sharing her story on social media, Mrs Liddel realised her efforts had a much wider impact than she first thought.
“To my surprise the local community got in touch to say how much they and their own families had enjoyed visiting the den while it was there and that the children were always excited to see the treasures that had been left,” she added.
“This inspired me to think about the mental health challenges that people may have been facing through the pandemic.”
She turned to Facebook and set up a special page inviting people to join her in a community art project, with the aim of folding a gaggle of origami cranes.
Known as orizuru in Japan, the process symbolises peace. Creating 1,000 is believed to make wishes come true or promote recovery from illness or injury.
The art installation has been supported by Aberdeen City Health And Social Care Partnership, and was unveiled to mark the nature-themed National Mental Health Week for 2021, which continues until Sunday.
It will remain in place for around a month, at which time it is hoped the cranes may embark upon a short tour by nesting in other city venues.