Artists donate works to enhance NHS staff spaces

Peter Liversidge: hand-painted signs at Wennington Green on the junction of Roman and Grove roads in East London Image © Peter Liversidge

Health service workers at the Royal London Hospital and the Mile End Hospital are to be treated to artworks in their rest areas donated by some of the capital’s leading artists.

The #100NHSRooms project, organised by Barts Health NHS Trust, aims to bring new artworks to 100 rooms in hospitals used for rest and recuperation by health workers treating patients during the pandemic, and beyond.

Haroon Mirza: ‘Save 1’, 2020, chiffon, polyurethane and chalk pen on photovoltaic cells, edition of 3. Image © Haroon.

The artworks will decorate the extra rest spaces which are being created in response to the pandemic, in the five hospitals which are part of the Barts Health NHS Trust: St Bartholomew’s, Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital, Mile End Hospital and Newham University Hospital.

The scheme was initiated by Vital Arts a charitably-funded part of Barts Health NHS Trust which works to create art projects within hospitals, in collaboration with east London based artist Shezad Dawood and Modern Forms, a contemporary art collection and curatorial platform.

Jeremy Deller and Fraser Muggeridge: Thank God for Immigrants, 2020, Watercolour. Image ©  Jeremy Deller and Fraser Muggeridge

Catsou Roberts, the Director of Vital Arts, said she believed in the impact of the right artworks on wellbeing. “All the projects we do are very carefully considered as to how the artworks will improve the atmosphere and the clinical environment.”

The aim of the project is to help enhance staff spaces to help relieve pressure and improve their mental health before returning to patient care. Roberts said the project aimed “to support the wellbeing of clinical colleagues” but was also about “enabling access to significant contemporary art and offering meaningful encounters with culture.”

Diango Hernández: ‘Hashtag Love 2’, 2020. Pigment print on paper, Image ©  Diango Hernández

Shezad Dawood explained why he wanted to be part of the project: “When the pandemic started I think a lot of people were left feeling helpless, especially while NHS and other frontline staff (often like me, from BAME communities) were left exposed literally on the ‘frontline’, with a huge toll on their physical and mental well-being. I liked this idea of creating a gift and a dialogue between artists and healthcare workers in my local community, where we could afford each other a moment to rest and recover. ”

Installation of the artworks will begin in the next few weeks.

Shezad Dawood: Nets (Chequerboard), 2020, Watercolour on paper. Image © Shezad Dawood
Shezad Dawood: Nets (Rainbow), 2020, Watercolour on paper. Image © Shezad Dawood
Alwen Williams, Group CEO of Barts Health backing 100NHSRooms. Pic: Vital Arts

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