Hospice opens patients artwork to the public

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The personal, creative work of patients and families at an Essex Hospice went on display to the public as part of a free art exhibition on the 22nd and 23rd June.

‘Art Fest’, organised by St. Luke’s Hospice in Basildon, saw the creative work of patients, their families, carers, staff and volunteers go on display in the first exhibition of its kind for the Hospice. Among the unique pieces were paintings, drawings, home-made jewellery and sculptures; many of which were created by patients at the Hospice.

The idea was born from a Day Hospice project, which encouraged people to decorate large sunflower petals which were assembled together to make a spectacular sunflower display. This was the pinnacle of Art Fest and the final piece was displayed as part of the exhibition.

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To help create a festival feel, patients also helped make buntings which surrounded the Hospice. There was free music, entertainment and refreshments for people to enjoy, and some of the artwork was sold to help raise money for the Hospice.
The exhibition was launched by the Basildon Mayor Cllr Burton-Sampson and also included photographic art that gifted to the Hospice by renowned royal photographer Arthur Edwards MBE.

Susan Wooding, who attends the Day Hospice said doing her creative work keeps her mind occupied. She created various cross stitch artwork for the exhibition. She said: “I don’t have to think about things that are going on in my life. I enjoy talking to others about the creative projects that I am working on. Coming to the event made me feel very chuffed. It touched me to see my work displayed and to meet the Mayor. My family also enjoyed seeing the variety of work on display.”

Julie Sone who shared 4D Artwork at the event said: “Creative work makes me feel mellow. I’ve created seven individual pieces for each of my grandchildren during my time at the Hospice and once the pieces are joined together they create a meaningful message. I felt very proud to see my work displayed.”

John Shoedeke, another patient and exhibitor who shared his African Artefacts, said: “I feel very proud to be part of St. Luke’s Hospice and have enjoyed seeing my creations on display.”

Art Fest was held in the Day Hospice, where people with life-limiting illnesses are supported and cared for. People who attend the Day Hospice are regularly encouraged to take part in diversional and creative activities, including arts and crafts.
Eileen Craig, Head of Day Hospice at St. Luke’s Hospice and organiser of the event, said: “We were overwhelmed by the variety, incredible standard and number of exhibits received and took great care to ensure each piece was carefully and thoughtfully placed and displayed. But it was the personal stories which accompanied the exhibits that all staff here will cherish, and the thrill of the expressions of pride on people’s faces as they saw their work in an exhibition for the first time, something that none of them had expected to see.”

Art Fest took place on the 22nd and 23rd June and was part of Basildon Council’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

For more information about the Hospice, visit www.stlukeshospice.com or call St. Luke’s Hospice on 01268 524973.

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