Art project turns patients into artists

A group of patients and siblings from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick have had the chance to become artists after taking part in the first Create and Make art project.

The Create and Make project, which was created by the Health and Arts Committee, was developed to give patients and siblings the ability to communicate their own thoughts, experiences and emotions while also contributing to a collaborative product.

The project involved a series of four illustration workshops across the Network, including workshops in the Adolescent Medicine Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit and Hospital School at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and in the Ngala Nanga Mai pARenT Group Program at the La Perouse Aboriginal Health Centre.

Thirteen patients and siblings participated in the workshops, producing five unique designs. The illustrations were then collated, designed and printed to create a series of limited edition tote bags and tea towels.  

Animals were a common theme amongst the budding artists, with family pets resonating with many of the participants.

“This is where the project started,” Ivy Baddock, Art Curator at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, said, “Many of our patients have dogs at home so that’s what we told them to draw.”

“Once everyone had participated, the idea was expanded and patients drew a variety of different animals. The effects were phenomenal – we had flying birds, tiny mice, a moose, reindeers in the forest and a most delightful squidgy pink pig!”

“The next job was to put it all together into a design for our tea towels and tote bags. The pink pig perfectly complimented the galaxy skies that had been created and using inspiration from one of our favourite collage artists, Laura Blythman, we put the animal drawings into our collaged galactic mountain scene.”

Now in production, the tote bags and tea towels are not only a colourful and creative product for the community, but also a powerful representation of the unique personalities and journeys of our patients and siblings.

The final products will feature in an art exhibition at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. The exhibition will be officially opened next Thursday, 13 December at 5.30pm in Sunny’s Café (Level 0) and is open to the public. The exhibition will then run until 21 February 2019.

Following the launch of the exhibition, the tote bags and tea towels will be available for sale, with all proceeds going towards the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation to help fund future art projects across the Network.