18 April 2023

Artworks to help make new hospital building a place of healing

| Ian Bushnell
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Artist Hannah Quinlivan with some of her work

Canberra artist Hannah Quinlivan. Her work will be for the main public corridor, linking the new Welcome Hall to the Critical Services Building. Photos: ACT Government.

Canberra artist Hannah Quinlivan’s work Intersections already adorns the ACT’s light rail stations, and now she will also contribute new work to the Canberra Hospital Expansion project.

She is one of four artists selected to provide art works to enhance the public spaces of the new Critical Services Building.

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The commissions are part of an $1.8 million ACT Government investment to create art that will contribute to the identity of the Canberra Hospital, foster wellbeing and provide a sense of inclusiveness and diversity for patients, staff and visitors.

They were selected by Byron Bay art consultant Creative Road, which the government engaged at a cost of nearly $300,000 to help identify suitable artists to deliver art for the Hospital Project.

Creative Road considered a wide range of artists with diverse art practices and backgrounds and their proposals.

Ms Quinlivan – whose practice utilises linework, motion and space to expand the field of drawing – will create artwork for the main public corridor, linking the new Welcome Hall to the Critical Services Building.

Her work will celebrate the significant bodies of water in and around Canberra and the life that they bring to the city – the Murrumbidgee, its tributaries, and Lake Burley Griffin.

Canberra-based Kate Vassallo. Her work will be part of walls throughout the hospital.

The other artists are Canberra-based Kate Vassallo, an established Australian-Maltese visual artist; Musonga Mbogo, an emerging Canberra artist of Zimbabwean and Tanzanian heritage; and established Adelaide-based artist Peta Kruger.

Ms Vasallo will create a suite of unique two-dimensional artworks to be architecturally integrated into a range of wall spaces throughout the hospital such as visitor waiting areas, patient bays, staff stations and corridors.

Entitled ‘Bloom’, the theme of connection to country will invoke a happy and positive environment and sensations of calmness, wonder and awe.

Mr Mbogo will create site-specific two-dimensional wall artworks and an interactive sculptural play wall for paediatric spaces within the hospital with the goal of making everyone feel welcome and help children in what can be a difficult environment to learn.

Canberra artist Musonga Mbogo with his work

Emerging Canberra artist Musonga Mbogo will create works for children.

Ms Kruger, a former graphic and jewellery designer, is being commissioned to create a series of sculptural artworks for the new outdoor garden, crafted from bricks, glazed ceramic tiles, glass and LED lights, which will provide a soothing elegant feel after dark.

It will provide a playful environment where children can play and visitors can sit.

The artists will work intensively over the coming months with Creative Road, architectural partner BVN and hospital delivery partner Multiplex to further develop, refine and finalise their art for installation in the new Critical Services Building.

More public art is planned for the project with First Nations artists to be appointed in the coming months to create art for the building’s Welcome Hall, which will be the new focal point of the hospital campus and will include the hospital’s new main reception.

Artist Peta Kruger with her sculptural work

Adelaide artist Peta Kruger will create sculptural artworks for the new outdoor garden. Photo: Jessica King for the Hadley’s Art Prize.

Creative Road director Rebecca Townsend said the link between art and both physical and mental health outcomes was well recognised.

“The Canberra Hospital Expansion Project understands the value of art in the psychology of healing and wellbeing,” she said.

“A diverse range of professional artists has been selected to create a suite of exceptional artworks which address priority sites and engage patients, staff and visitors.”

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the artworks would consider the needs of the diverse range of people who move through the hospital setting including being dementia friendly and considerate of people with sensory disabilities such as autism.

“As people move throughout the new building and surrounds they will be able to enjoy unique spaces where they can gather and reflect on their wellbeing journey in a more comfortable and supportive environment,” she said.

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Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said it was fantastic so many Canberra-based artists were commissioned for this project.

“We wanted the Canberra community to have the chance to really put their stamp on the new facilities they will be using and I look forward to seeing the artwork of local Canberrans feature prominently in this new hospital building,” she said.

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Victor Bilow10:14 pm 23 Apr 23

Buy some medical equipment that is needed, and not piss it up the wall again.
People are queued up for years for medical help and you lot are absolutely unbelievable with no idea, common sense or decency.

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