20,000 paper birds help fund COVID-19 units at Belgium hospital

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AN art installation made of 20,325 origami birds called Origami For Life by Belgian designer and artist Charles Kaisin is pictured at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, which aims to raise donations for a Belgian hospital in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 10.  — REUTERS/YVES HERMAN

BRUSSELS — A flock of 20,000 multicolored origami birds has been installed in a cathedral in Brussels, Belgium, as part of a fundraising artwork that has paid for two COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) units at a local hospital.

Suspended from the ceiling of the medieval Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula by thin wires, the paper creations have come from as far afield as Hong Kong, New York, and Tokyo, after Belgian designer Charles Kaisin asked people to send in home-made birds, or deposit them in boxes in 160 shops around Brussels.

Each bird was matched by a donation from companies including French energy firm Engie, raising 101,625 euros ($119,744) for two units for COVID-19 patients at the Erasmus hospital in Brussels.

“I had a very serious heart surgery and I was well taken care of by this hospital. It’s why I wanted to help them,” Kaisin told Reuters.

Kaisin also organized an art auction which raised a further 300,000 euros ($353,000) for the hospital, which he said would support its medical research, including into the side effects of potential COVID-19 treatments. — Reuters