Hospital Rooms Commission


Paint, photographs on di-bond

Installation view

Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson mural for Taikurinhattu (Hobgoblin’s hat) kindergarten in Pori, Finland, 1984

I was thrilled to be selected for the Hospital Rooms commission in Cornwall and have loved meeting the project founders Tim Shaw and Niamh White and working with the Cornwall project team – Anna Testar and Izzy Eastick with support on the workshops from Steph Thomason. Brilliant support, care and attention to detail.

New work now installed in the Female Lounge on Carbis Ward, an acute psychiatric ward in Longreach House, part of Camborne Redruth Community Hospital. Install with Jackson Sprague – the beautiful shift from pink to blue on the wall created by working with 25 different shades of paint mixed and applied by hand. The photographs come from workshops with patients at Bodmin hospital and IntoBodmin; patients and staff making paper flowers together then throwing them into the air, using infra red beam to trigger the camera shutter to capture them in mid flight.

When I was planning the workshops I was drawn to images of Tove Jansson – swimming with a flower garland in her hair. Looking at her playful work, especially the book Moominpappa at sea, I was taken by the idea of Moominmamma painting her own flower garden on the wall, that she found she could enter into.

‘Flower after flower appeared on the wall, roses, marigolds, pansies, peonies… Moominmama’s mural was more and more and more beautiful, and it stretched as far as the door…The bark felt rough and warm, and the sound of the sea disappeared. Moominmamma was right inside her garden.’

I wanted to make a flower garden on the walls of the hospital for the patients. Some of the final images echoed the shapes and colours in a mural by Jansson – painted for Taikurinhattu (Hobgoblin’s hat) kindergarten in Pori, Finland in 1984 when Tove was 70.

Hospital Rooms is such an inspirational project – working across the UK, bringing unique installations, informed by workshops and time spent with patients and staff. When I was interviewed for the commission I remember Tim saying that the principle was to bring as much care to mental health settings, as is taken with galleries. 🙌

Commissioned artists: Sovay Berriman, Phillippa Clayden, Janet Holland, Chantal Joffe, Alvin Kofi, Abigail Reynolds, Ro Roberston, Ben Sanderson, Maria Christoforidou and Viviane Vaux, Lucy Willow.