Ten Thousand Paper Petals


Ten Thousand Paper petals was a major artwork installation involving more than 100 patients, staff and community members, in partnership with Sydwest Multicultural Services, to create a 5-metre diameter floor sculpture of origami flowers.

The project was part of the creative consultation processes for the Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital Expansion Project Stage 2 Arts and Culture Program. 

Origami master Yoshimi Lawler worked with local women's groups, visitors, patients and staff to fold 1000 lotus flowers which were transformed into a rangoli (floor pattern).

It reflected the multicultural nature of local communities, a need identified throughout the consultation.

The diversity of cultural symbols (lotus, Diya light) important to many local cultures expressed signs of compassion optimism and hope in an often stressful hospital experience.  

"Ten Thousand Paper Petals was a one-off collaboration between a master artist, cultural planners, community members, patients, staff and visitors on a project which had never before been attempted by a health or arts organisation," said Marily Cintra, project coordinator and head of the Heath and Arts Research Centre Inc (HARC) which coordinates the BMDH Project arts and culture strategy. 

"A rangoli is traditionally created in sand, and is ephemeral. The team took into account the environment and capacity for participation and designed an activity which was specific to the hospital – substituting sand patterns for paper flowers which could be created by participants, displayed and then shared back into the community, or recycled in a sustainable way.

"The final design was a floral representation of the BMDH Project logo and was displayed as part of the Sydney Sacred Music Festival," she said. 

The project was totally unique in the way it fused traditional Japanese paper-folding with the traditions of the local Indian community, and at the same time was able to engage patients and staff in a conversation about well-being. 

"The act of folding allowed the arts and cultural team to consult with people about projects for Stage 2 of the expansion project, while at the same time encouraging well-being, connection and creativity," said project leader Mira Martic, from HARC. 

The project was also unique and innovative in the way it engaged directly with the team at SydWest Multicultural Services, specifically with their Indian women’s group comprised of recently arrived and longer-term migrant women seeking support and more meaningful connection with their community.

The supportive and creative environment assisted them to make stronger community connections and provided a non-confrontational forum for supportive discussion. 



Origami lotus

"Blacktown is a very multicultural place and we wanted that multiculturalism to be reflected in the project at Blacktown Hospital. The reason why we have connected with Blacktown Hospital is to represent Blacktown LGA which has so many cultures. The rangoli represents culture and tradition of showing colours, joy and happiness. The women who did the rangoli felt very proud of themselves. It was empowering for them... they felt they had achieved something. That was the most wonderful part of putting the display up – the spectators going by and looking it were enjoying it but also the women - they were not just mums, they were proud. It was really encouraging." Sonja – SydWest Multicultural Services