Walnut Creek Wetland Park is home to a temporary installation of a traditional Guatemalan Kite called "the Kite of Hope" until August 2021. This kite was created in 2020 by Raleigh artist, and Viceconsul for Guatemala, Cristina España, and her husband Natahanel Sperger. It represents the beauty and natural treasures of Guatemala while displaying a message of hope and perseverance for the challenges that we all faced in 2020.
This 8-ft kite will be on display, hanging from the ceiling in the lobby of Walnut Creek Wetland Park until August before it continues its travels across North Carolina to other cultural arts centers. The kite is made from a bamboo frame and tissue paper and displays national symbols for Guatemala; in the center is an image of a traditional woman of Guatemala as a representation of a migrant person, accompanied over either shoulder by symbols of a rich and ancient culture. Over the woman’s right shoulder is the national flower, a white orchid known as the “Monja Blanca,” and over her left shoulder is the national bird of Guatemala, the Resplendent Quetzal. Below the woman are the words “Esperanza Kite, Humanity will survive 2020” which exemplify the strength and resilience of humanity in a challenging year.
The Esperanza Kite is itself a small representation of a beautiful tradition from Guatemala. Kites like this one (often as big as 4 stories tall!) are constructed by artists, using bamboo frames and erected near cemeteries as a celebration of the Day of All Saints, recognized on November 1st, when loved ones who have passed are remembered. This kite-making tradition is most well-known in the region of Sacatepequez, Guatemala, and the kites are true pieces of art, with intricate designs that take months to assemble using tissue paper. Once a large kite is completed, it takes about 12 experienced individuals – traditionally called Barriletes – to fly it. Flying these kites symbolizes pleas for peace and messages of well-being between those loved ones who have passed on and those still living. Many people will travel from around the world to experience this celebration in Sacatepequez, Guatemala. This summer you can visit a small representation of the tradition right here in Raleigh at Walnut Creek Wetland Park!
The Esperanza Kite will continue to travel across North Carolina in August, spreading its message of hope to other communities. The kite was created and is traveling through a partnership and support from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the Guatemalan Consulate, among other supporting host organizations.