Consider the kite: A lightweight frame covered with a thin material, designed to fly in the wind at the end of a tethered line.
This captivating little form first appeared on the documented timeline of human history almost 2,500 years ago and its popularity and cultural significance has yet to wane. For centuries, kites have been flown for reasons both practical and pleasurable.
They signal victory, plead for a good harvest and announce the birth of a child. We’ve used them as tools for measurement, communication, military conquest and scientific discovery. In parts of the world, they feature prominently in religious ceremony, playing faithful conduit to the spirit-filled heavens.
But is a kite a work of art?
“Oh yes, absolutely,” says Kay Buesing, director of the World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. “For almost as long as we’ve been putting them in the sky, people have used kites for artistic expression.”
She should know. For more than 20 years Buesing has helped develop, expand and preserve the largest collection of kites and kite history in North America, perhaps the world. “Kites are universal, so is the making of art,” Buesing muses. “I think it’s a lovely pairing.”
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