'Hospital Rooms' celebrates the completion of its first project outside London with an exhibition at the Waterfront Gallery in Ipswich.
This show will present the rare opportunity to see the artwork created for Woodlands, a mental health unit that is part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Service users and staff at Woodlands invited us to work with them to transform spaces within the unit. These included:
• 136 Suite - a place of safety for people detained by the police following concerns that they are suffering from a mental disorder
• Mental Health Act Tribunal Room - which is used for hearings where a panel makes important decisions about a service user’s
• 3 adult acute mental health review rooms - where care plans and progress are discussed by service users, carers, staff and
community teams (Lark, Poppy, Avocet Wards)
• A communal area for service users with dementia and their carers (Willows Ward)
The artists worked with the unit community through a series of gatherings and art workshops to create high quality artworks that could instil feelings of dignity and control in service users. Nick Knight shared work from his renowned body of photographs ‘Flora’, Rebecca Byrne was inspired by the local Shingle Street Beach for her large scale painting in the 136 Suite, and Carl Rowe’s work transmits the message ‘Have Strength Find Peace’ to service users during tribunals.
The Woodlands unit provides acute inpatient mental health services, based within the Ipswich Hospital site. It incorporates a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit – Lark Ward; two acute mental health wards – Poppy and Avocet; and an older people’s mental health ward, Willows.
These wards collectively provide care for people with a range of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, mania, psychosis, schizophrenia, personality disorders and dementia.
Alongside this project, Fine Art students from the University of Suffolk and Norwich University of the Arts have worked with the Hospital Rooms and Woodlands team to create their own ideas for the unit and examples of their proposals will form part of the exhibition.
This project was funded by Arts Council England, technology recruitment consultancy Client Server and Hospital Rooms friends and donors. It was also supported by art manufacturers Colart, who have generously donated all the necessary art materials for the project.
Hospital Rooms will be on show at the University's Waterfront Gallery until 19 July from 9am-4pm
About the Artists:
Nick Knight is among the world’s most influential and visionary photographers. Nick decided to share one of his personal projects with the Willows Ward, a series of photographs titled ‘Flora’. The project was first initiated in 1993 for Knight’s installation ‘Plant Power’ at the Natural History Museum in London when he and his wife Charlotte spent three and a half years in the herbarium mapping the presence of flora - from opium to cotton - in our society. When they were installed, one patient exclaimed, ‘These artworks are ecstatic!’.
Tal Rosner is a BAFTA award winning video designer and director. Tal led an animation workshop with service users at Woodlands where each person created their own short moving image. He then used the principles of animation to create ‘Open Up’, a graphic and colourful immersive mural that extends across the walls, ceiling, window frames and alcoves of the Review Room in Poppy ward. By drawing inspiration from the unusual shape of the room’s interior and using simple geometrical forms in strongly opaque colours, Tal created multiple optical illusions in the space.
Tim A Shaw
Tim A Shaw is an artist who is also co-founder of Hospital Rooms. He painted each of the 250 individual slats of the fence in the communal garden in a unique hand mixed colour. Each slat becomes the personal pronoun ‘I’ and Tim invited service users and staff to write and draw their own words and images on top of his painting. The title of the piece is ‘Speakers Corner’ and as well as being a vibrant and colourful artwork for the outdoor area at Woodlands, the fence becomes a surface for thoughts, ideas and statements to be added to.
Carl Rowe is course leader of Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts. The words Strength and Peace emerged repeatedly during Carl’s workshop, and he superimposed these over photographs of trees that can be found growing in Christchurch Park in Ipswich. The intention of bringing nature inside the confines of the room has been quietly reinforced by virtue of the fact that the black ink used in the screen- printing process was made from carbonated acorns, sweet chestnuts and horse chestnuts gathered from the trees they depict.
Nancy Milner is a painter who trained at the Royal Academy Schools and creates compositions with vibrant contrasting colours and abstract shapes. For this project, Nancy created an installation consisting of six paintings for the Review Room in Lark Ward. Nancy said about her work, “When I was making the paintings, I kept the patients’ thoughts in mind; I wanted to make paintings that would occupy the space, and make the room feel fuller, to create a more containing environment.” One patient said, “It’s like being in the Tate Gallery in here, I love it!”
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