Humpback Whale Comes to OIST
OIST has a new resident: a life-size humpback whale! Last Saturday, June 28, eighty children visited OIST to paint a mural of a humpback whale with Okinawan artist pokke104. The fourteen-meter long mural is the same size as a real humpback whale and now hangs outside of the café.
Parent volunteers helped pokke104 and the CDC lead the children in an hour and a half of painting. Small groups decorated each section of the whale with handprints or sea creatures cut from paper. “When the children were drawing, you could see the focus on their faces,” explained organizer Arisa Ikeda. “They were so into the project while they were drawing. And they were learning too!” After they finished painting, researcher Eric Edsinger talked to the children about how whales interact with his study subjects, octopus and squid.
Once each section was complete, the whale sections were glued together to form a life-size whale. “I don’t think I had grasped the whole concept because it was always in so many pieces,” said Julia Nabholz, the director of the CDC. “But when I saw the whole whale, once it was assembled, that was really cool.”
The event succeeded in connecting OIST to the community. “I was very glad to see that the kids and the family members from the both communities were getting along well and having a good time together,” said Ikeda. “At the end, everyone became friends.”