The Transformation Parlour was based on the Chinese and Japanese craft of origami. It developed out of Guilleminot’s visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in 1998. During the trip, the artist was profoundly moved by the story of a Japanese girl who was a victim of the Hiroshima A-bomb. During a lengthy, fatal illness caused by exposure to radiation, she made origami birds to embody her prayers for peace.
The origami sculptures were small birds called Tsuru and are Japanese symbols of hope and longevity. The project was developed as a workshop where children learnt to make the birds from sheets of specially printed paper, designed by the artist. The pupils from Nelson Mandela Primary School learnt the paper folding techniques. They also tested the technical possibilities of origami by experimenting with producing ‘giant’ cranes using paper which they had decorated using wax crayons and coloured pens.
Each year, thousands of Tsuru are collected together at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The birds made during this project were collected and made into garlands before being transported to Japan in August 2001 to commemorate the anniversary of the bombing.