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Jacksonville Synagogue’s Origami Mural Built With Pandemic Messages

Artist and Congregation Ahavath temple member Clifford Buckley poses with "Ebb & Flow."
Congregation Ahavath Chesed
Artist and Congregation Ahavath temple member Clifford Buckley poses with "Ebb & Flow."

A local synagogue has unveiled "Ebb & Flow," a new 3D origami mural made of 5,640 pieces of paper.

Unveiled after its annual meeting on Sunday, Congregation Ahavath Chesed worked with origami artist and temple member Clifford Buckley to create the work. The mural took three months and over 300 hours to complete, Buckley said.

During the pandemic, Congregation Ahavath Chesed mailed colored paper to temple families and asked them to write down their feelings, wishes and hopes for the future. The papers were then sent back to be folded into one of the paper triangles used in the work.

In total, about 250 messages were used in the mural. Buckley said he read and cataloged them all so he knew what was going into his work.

“One of them said that ‘I lost my parents, but I gained grandchildren’,” he said. “Some of them were goofy drawings, some were more messages of hope.”

Credit Congregation Ahavath Chesed

Buckley started creating 3D origami artwork over ten years ago when his mother passed away. He volunteered his time to create "Ebb & Flow," adding a similar project would normally be worth around $8,500.

To him, the main power of the mural comes from the thoughts, prayers and drawings that built it during the time of turbulence caused by the pandemic.

“The individual triangles represent everybody coming together to create one large, special, beautiful piece that shows strength and unity,” Buckley said.

Tristan Wood can be reached at or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.

Tristan is WJCT’s 2021 Summer Reporting Intern. He has previously worked as the City and County Commission reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, Gainesville’s student-run newspaper, and Fresh Take Florida, a news service working in partnership with the Associated Press to cover the Florida Legislature and select political news stories across the state.