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Fantastic Creatures on Display at ‘Imiloa for the Holidays

by Imiloa Astronomy Center on December 7th, 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, where a special origami-bedecked holiday tree went on display on Tuesday, November 27.  The tree features a unique collection of mythic and fantastic creatures folded by origami artist volunteers from across the U.S. and abroad.  These models were originally displayed on the 2007 Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.


Colorful mermaids, unicorns, angels, centaurs, Pegasus’s, dragons, and even a gargoyle and Medusa can be found dancing among the branches of the lighted 7’ tree in the ‘Imiloa atrium.  The tree is topped with a dramatic red Kusudama Star folded especially for ‘Imiloa by Dr. Julien Lozi, Senior Optical Scientist at Subaru Telescope.


The intricately folded fantastic creatures are part of an origami collection generously donated to ‘Imiloa two years ago by Al Miyatake. Born and raised in Hawai‘i, Miyatake was a friend of the Center and longtime Japan Airlines manager who for many years created an annual origami holiday tree at the JAL check-in counter at Kona International Airport.  Assisting in his efforts were his mother-in-law, Kyoko Kondo, and many talented friends from Origami USA, the New York-based national origami society which organizes volunteer folders to decorate the tree which has become a nearly 50-year holiday tradition at the American Museum of Natural History.


Margaret Shiba, ‘Imiloa’s Director of Institutional Advancement, comments that “Our holiday tree this year is dedicated to the memory of Al Miyatake, who passed away in Kona in March.  As an origami enthusiast, Al worked tirelessly to share the now-universal art of paper folding with people everywhere, and we invite the community to stop by and admire the legacy he has left here at ‘Imiloa.”  Executive Director Ka‘iu Kimura adds, “This year’s tree has another special meaning for ‘Imiloa because of the professional connections we enjoy with our programming partners at the American Museum of Natural History in New York!  What a privilege to have inherited their origami models and their holiday tree tradition!”


‘Imiloa’s holiday tree will be on display into January in the atrium. The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information call 932-8901.

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