Arts project provides a snapshot of life at busy London hospital

Published: 12-May-2022

Reportage illustrator, Emily Thomas, creates new artwork for West Middlesex University Hospital celebrating the work of staff

CW+, the charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has been working with illustrator and reportage artist, Emily Thomas, to produce a collection of illustrations which capture and celebrate the workforce at West Middlesex University Hospital.

Thomas’ work revolves around direct observation and discovery, and for this commission she has been capturing staff at work across the hospital since October 2021, producing a large number of drawings showing the daily workings of the hospital.

Having built strong connections with hospital staff, her drawings are a touchpoint in time, reflecting the diverse workforce and community spirit of employees.

The project forms part of a wider exhibition which hospital charity CW+ is developing and curating to mark the rich heritage of the hospital as part of its 100-year celebration, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The display will become a permanent feature in the hospital’s entrance and, along with Thomas’ drawings, will reflect key moments of the hospital’s past and future plans.

A recent graduate, Thomas started working with CW+ and the trust as a student through the charity’s partnership with the University of the West Of England, and has previously been an artist in residence at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, creating a series of artworks to capture the life of volunteers, which was exhibited as part of a CW+ Arts in Health exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

Staff in the Costa cafe were also captured as part of her work

Staff in the Costa cafe were also captured as part of her work

Reflecting on her work, she said: “I have thoroughly cherished the time I've spent at the West Mid, and from the moment I began drawing on site every staff member has been so welcoming and friendly.

“One drawing and conversation at a time, I have been taken on an amazing journey to meet the individuals that keep this hospital running smoothly from day to day.

“This hospital, and the community within it, is something really unique and special and I hope to convey this throughout the work I've created and celebrate the incredible team of staff.”

Trystan Hawkins, arts director at CW+, added: “We are once again thrilled to be working with Emily Thomas and are excited to install her drawings in celebration of our hospital staff as part of our West Mid 100 Years heritage exhibition.

“Emily’s drawings capture the life of staff and are a touchpoint in time of this bustling hospital, and they will rightly be preserved as a historical resource as part of our new exhibition.”

The West Mid 100 Years heritage exhibition will be unveiled this summer, with Bristol-based exhibition designers, Smith and Jones, working with CW+ to develop the concepts for the design and capture a snapshot of the stories, developments, and achievements of the hospital over the past century.

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