Artwork commemorates NHS heroes

Ruth Peterson | November 24, 2021

Paintings, mosaics and collages are now on display in Bradford hospitals after students created works of art in tribute to the heroism of NHS staff during the pandemic.

Visitors to Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital can now view the stunning pictures. They have been created by Bradford School of Art students as lasting memorials to the NHS’ support for people across the district.

Art and Design lecturer Carole Griffiths, who led the Level 4 Art and Design BA (Hons) students in the project, said: “The aim was to capture the legacy of care, working in a team, pulling together all resources to support and nurse patients throughout an extremely difficult time.”

Peter Hodgson and Mel Pickup with Peter’s heart mosaic

Reflecting the legacy of care

This project began after hospital staff came up with an idea for a multi-media artwork to commemorate the NHS experience of Covid 19 in Bradford.

The Trust then contacted Bradford College in summer 2020. They asked if students and staff would consider working with them to produce a commemorative piece of art.

After coming up with some initial ideas, students began to create their artworks. They all based their work on the concept of care provided throughout the Covid 19 pandemic by the hospital staff at the BRI. 

The rainbow and the heart

Carole said: “The rainbow and the heart have been significant symbolic references in many hospitals and these were their starting points. The idea was to present a wide range of creative art works. This in turn would brighten up specific areas of the hospital to enable people to remember, be proud and demonstrate the provision of care throughout the hospital.” 

In total, students produced 23 pieces of art. Trust staff were then invited to view the work and vote for their favourites. The 10 most popular went on display. 

Winning students

Kimberlee talks about her work

The winning pictures have been created by: Peter Hodgson, Sarah Bukhari, Shane Sproule, Hafsah Shahid, Ioan Hirst, Kimberlee Middleton and Natalie Smith.

Staff have worked in extremely difficult circumstances. As well as providing exceptional care to people impacted by Covid 19, they have supported people who have lost loved ones. Carole said: “Their efforts to console family members and support one another throughout have been essential within their roles.”

This was among the themes that the works of art reflect. Some of the pictures contain humour, others reflect hope for the future. As well as toilet rolls, reflecting the shortage at the start of the pandemic, butterflies also feature.

Hospital trust staff joined students at a celebration of their work at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Joining them were Carole and Head of School for Art (Further Education) Lisa Edwards. 

Jo Stedman thanks students

Fantastic to see work on the walls

Mel Pickup, Chief Executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s lovely that we are in a position to invite the students into the building, which has been difficult for the last 18 months. It is going to be fantastic to see their work on the walls in the hospital. In not too short a time, they will be seen by hundreds of people every day.

“We’ve tried really hard to capture some of the feelings of our communities. This was a wonderful way of being able to do that. The pictures will all mean something different to everybody who looks at them.”

Jo Stedman, Deputy Associate Director of Nursing at the Trust, said: “The amount of work you put into creating these beautiful pieces are making such a difference to staff, patients, relatives and other people who come to visit.

A big thank you

 “I want to say a big thank you. The staff really do appreciate it.”

Carole said: “I just want to thank you to the hospital for giving us the opportunity. It gives students the chance to be professional practitioners and give something back to the community. It’s a massive achievement for us to have our work on display like this.”

Mel Pickup and students launch new artwork

Supporting the community

Bradford School of Art is part of Bradford College, which has a strong partnership with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. It aims to play a role at the heart of the community.

During the pandemic, they have supported frontline healthcare staff. As part of a community sewing class, Adult and Community students made reusable theatre scrubs, gowns, masks and large washing bags.

These were delivered to healthcare staff at hospitals in Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield. A dental practice and GP surgeries also received the gowns.

The Gallery

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