And another thing…

My last post was meant to be my last post of 2020.

But I saw something that I wanted to share with you.

I took someone to St. James’ hospital in Leeds the other day. Specifically, the Bexley Wing. Which is actually more like a hospital within a hospital rather than a ‘wing’.

What struck me initially is that they have an art gallery space in the atrium. Obviously, I took the opportunity to peruse the stunning work on display.

What was a little bit awkward was the fact that someone deemed it a good idea to place chairs all along the gallery wall. So, I often found myself standing directly in front of a healthcare worker, (who was taking a well earned break), gawping over their head.

I decided to take a few photos for posterity. And soon realised that the juxtaposition of the art on display and the resting workers/visitors oblivious to it, was art in itself. (Well, it was in my head, anyway.)

I think the fact that the majority of people are on their smart phones adds a certain amount of 21st century irony to the pictures. With the art behind them screaming “Look at me!”

Some people may know how passionate I am about the arts and their ability to help in the healing process. Whether that be mental, physical or general wellbeing.

Anyway, the atrium gallery is amazing. The work is amazing. The staff are amazing. And the NHS is amazing. So, all-in-all, well done, and thank you to everyone at St James’ Hospital, Bexley wing. (You are amazing.)


Filed under Art, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, health, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Medicine, mental health, nhs, Photography, Science, Uncategorized

11 responses to “And another thing…

  1. I love that so many hospitals and health care facilities routinely display art. And thanks for this example and for your commentary. Yes -amazing. All round.

  2. A fascinating post, Dave. We’re big into our arts in hospital settings here in Ireland too.
    The poor staff look exhausted and the art so fresh. It is a pity they weren’t feasting their tired eyes upon it.

  3. It almost looks like it was an anti art sit in protest! Perhaps the chairs used to be in comfortable outward looking clusters before social distancing.

    • Yes it does! I don’t blame the people sitting on the chairs for not looking at the work. They deserve their break. The chairs are spaced at socially distanced intervals, so you’re probably right, they may have been positioned elsewhere before covid. If you’ve been on your feet for 8 hours you’re not going to not sit down just because they’re facing the wrong way. Imagine if they were positioned like this in an art gallery.

      • I will ask my son, an expert in gallery seating. When we go (when we used to go!) to an art gallery, he will find the nearest bench and stay there until we fetch him when we’ve finished. We left him for ages in the Louvre!

  4. I think that you have captured something here that is so much greater than the sum of its parts (art on walls and people in chairs). Together there is a real emotional punch in your images, for me. Not just the social commentary, but also the serendipitous compositions the postures of the people and the grid arrangements of the artwork make with each other. What an eye you have, in so many levels. Thanks for showing this. For some reason, it made me feel a sense of, while things are rough, there is also the oasis that can be found.

    • Thank you Claudia, that’s very kind. I particularly like the woman drinking a bottle of water with a painting of a bird/parrot looking down at her. There is beauty and art all around us. All we have to do is look.

      • Yes, I noticed that photo in particular too. The bird and the woman have the same pose. It made my mind consider similarities between the two, what the stories could be, and also, once again, how patterns repeat, the world is made of details that arrange themselves. As you say, all we have to do is look.

  5. David, I love your photographs of all the healthcare workers among the works of art. A picture within a picture, you might say! I just wrote about a project at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC where contemporary artists were commissioned to make posters honoring the ICU nurses. The posters are displayed in a break room for the nurses.

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