Carpinteria’s Peggy Oki is an accomplished artist, Skateboarding Hall of Famer, and star of the 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, but she’s also a proud advocate for the well-being of whales. Her “Origami Whales” project, which was conceived in 2004 as a curtain of 1,400 paper whales to raise awareness over whaling, has continually grown to nearly 40,000 pieces, most recently exhibited in Hawai’i.
Her newest project focuses on an orca named Lolita, who has spent the last 45 years in captivity at the Miami Seaquariam. “I’ve never seen an orca in the wild,” explained Oki, “but I have a promise with myself to go to Lolita’s home waters when she is free.”
Four years ago, Oki, pictured here with a painting she made of Lolita’s mother, learned of Lolita’s harrowing story and immediately began campaigning on her behalf. The new project is titled “16,425 Days a Slave” and aims to send that many letters to the owners of the Miami Seaquarium, urging them to begin the process of Lolita’s release, after a carefully planned retirement period, back into her home waters of the Pacific Northwest.