Jeremy Deller and Yinka Shonibare among artists donating works for NHS staff rooms
As part of a charitable project called #100NHSRooms, leading names in contemporary art offer up pieces to support NHS workers during a hugely challenging time.
- Matt Alagiah
- 12 June 2020
Some of the biggest names in contemporary art have come together to donate pieces for 100 new and upgraded NHS staff respite rooms in various hospitals across London, including St. Bartholomew’s, Royal London Hospital and Whipps Cross. The charitable project is called #100NHSRooms and comes at a time when the NHS is under unprecedented strain due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The list of artists who have donated works features leading figures in contemporary art. This includes Rana Begum, Jeremy Deller and Fraser Muggeridge, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Peter Liversidge, Haroon Mirza, Annie Morris, Yinka Shonibare, The Grantchester Pottery, Mark Wallinger and Barbara Walker. The idea for the project was born from a collaboration between Vital Arts (the arts organisation within Barts Health NHS Trust), artist Shezad Dawood, and the contemporary art collection and curatorial platform Modern Forms.
For the creatives involved, the initiative offers a meaningful opportunity to express gratitude and solidarity with NHS staff – particularly as many of the artists live in the east London area that the hospitals serve. As Catsou Roberts, the director of Vital Arts, said in a statement: “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.”
In response to the current crisis, Barts Health NHS Trust, one of the largest in the UK with a workforce of around 17,000 people, is upgrading existing areas and creating new spaces in which clinical staff can find rest and respite. With mounting evidence demonstrating the benefits of art on mental health in clinical settings, the artworks will enhance spaces for reflection and calm in recognition of the adverse effects of intense pressure on staff and as a long-lasting commitment to their wellbeing.
As Dr. Rory McDermott, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Newham University Hospital, put it in a statement: “[The project] has much less to do with paintings in a staff room, and much more to do with what remains when the world is rapidly changing around you. The project will afford frontline staff a few moments to take stock, absorb the art and ponder the questions that it raises before returning to patient care.”
Jeremy Deller and Fraser Muggeridge: Thank God for Immigrants, 2020. © Jeremy Deller and Fraser Muggeridge
About the Author
Matt joined It’s Nice That as editor in October 2018 and became editor-in-chief in September 2020. He was previously executive editor at Monocle magazine. Drop him a line with ideas and suggestions, or simply to say hello.