Artists donate artworks for NHS workers’ respite rooms

Diango Hernández has donated ‘Horizonte Amor 1’ and ‘Horizonte Amor 3’ for the #100NHSRooms initiative. © Image Courtesy of Vital Arts and Diango Hernández

LONDON: The #100NHSRooms initiative was launched after the Barts Health NHS Trust announced plans to transform a hundred respite rooms for NHS frontline workers in hospitals across East London.

The Barts Health NHS Trust entrusted arts organisation Vital Arts with the charitably funded initiative, to which East London-based artist Shezad Dawood and Modern Forms also contributed.

More than 30 artists have donated works for the #100NHSRooms initiative, most of whom live within the east London area that the participating hospitals serve.

Among them are Mania Akbari, Douglas White, Charles Avery, Shiraz Bayjoo, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Shezad Dawood, Eloise Fornieles, Barbara Walker, Mark Wallinger, Harminder Singh Judge, Lakwena Maciver and Rana Begum.

Cuban visual artist Diango Hernández has donated two series of artworks to #100NHSROOMS, which he described as “a way of showing [his] most deep gratitude once more again to ALL NHS personnel.”

“My grandfather, my uncle, cousins and several other relatives of mine are doctors. I grew up witnessing their great deal of dedication to their profession and patients,” he further explained.

The #100NHSRooms project draws on growing evidence about the positive impact of art on mental health and well-being in clinical settings, as WHO’s Regional Office for Europe suggested in a 2019 study.

“It’s great that staff are being supported through the therapeutic and healing potential of art since the pandemic has brought a period of stress and uncertainty for us all.

“The visually inspiring spaces for staff to rest and recuperate will certainly be very much appreciated and are sure to have a positive impact on our collective wellbeing,” Dr Philippa Kaina, Core Medical Trainee working within Barts Health, said in a statement.

As the struggle against coronavirus continues, researchers are investigating the emotional fallout borne by healthcare professionals on the frontline.

Last March, the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed in a study that a considerable proportion of Chinese healthcare workers treating patients with Covid-19 had reported experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress.

“We are keen to bring enriching artwork directly to our clinical colleagues – in those areas, and during this moment – when they might need it most.

“I believe these artworks will offer comfort and inspiration and convey the respect we hold for frontline staff during this difficult time,” Catsou Roberts, Director of Vital Arts, said of #100NHSRooms in a statement.