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  • Jun 12, 2020

Artists Donate Works to Decorate East London Hospitals

Vital Arts, an arts organization within the London-based Barts Health National Health Service (NHS) Trust, has assembled artists to donate artworks for display across staff respite rooms in five East London hospitals. The project, dubbed #100NHSRooms, is part of an initiative to upgrade and expand staff spaces in response to Covid-19, and was launched in collaboration with the artist and East London resident Shezad Dawood, and art collection platform Modern Forms. The hospitals are: St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, which includes the Barts Heart Centre; the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel; Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone; Newham University Hospital in Plaistow; and Mile End Hospital.

Almost all of the participating artists are based in London. Among them, Shezad Dawood, who is co-organizing the project, donated several abstract watercolors-on-paper as well as woodblock prints on colored paper: The Room (A Study in Red) and The Room (A Study in Yellow) (both 2015). Haroon Mirza donated three works, Save12, and 3 (all 2020), featuring the text “SAVE” inscribed in white chalk on photovoltaic cells. Shaan Syed’s Untitled (2020) abstract oil-on-khadi-paper series reimagines the sunsets during daily Islamic prayers in warm-toned color blocks. Digital prints on Somerset Velvet paper by Conrad Shawcross, part of his ongoing The ADA Project (2014– ), showcase the movement of robots dancing to a specific choreography. Catherine Yass’s Royal London (stairwell) (2013), a digitally manipulated photograph of a spiral staircase, was taken during her artist residency with Vital Arts. Filmmaker and artist Mania Akbari and artist Rana Begum, among others, have also donated works although details have yet to be released. 

Barts Health NHS Trust is one of the largest NHS trust in the United Kingdom, and delivers healthcare services to 2.5 million inhabitants of the area. Its charitably funded arts organization, Vital Arts, was established in 1996 to serve its patients, staff, and community. 

Charmaine Kong is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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