In a hospital, an environment where people can feel stressed, overwhelmed, and out of control, art can be a calming influence, even therapeutic or healing. So it makes sense that there are a handful of charities and organisations dedicated to the careful commissioning and placement of art across the UK’s hospitals.
One platform is CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, including its hospitals and clinics, which commissioned London-based graphic artist Supmermundane (aka Rob Lowe) to create a set of bespoke artworks for the children’s inpatient ward at West Middlesex University Hospital.
CW+’s Arts in Health programme focuses on the link between human health and the environment, building on the growing body of evidence that design and engagement with the arts can improve physical and mental wellbeing. As such they hold a collection of more than 2,000 works of art and digital installations, many of which are on display around their hospitals.
This latest addition to the collection by Supermundane is bold, line-based and pattern-filled, which echoes the kind of work he’s become known for. Since 2019, the artist has been working with young patients, their families and staff at the hospital to design and create “wall artwork, signage and colour schemes”. These have now been installed throughout the ward to create “a fun environment” for children being treated at West Middlesex.
“I’m always amazed how art can transform a space, and this was a chance to do it on a new scale. This is my biggest installation to date, taking in the reception area, corridors, bed bays and signage,” says Supermundane. “The site-specific works use images made by children to create patterns and texture, adding to the personalised feel, and the geometric elements create structure along with the addition of my signature use of colour.”
Supermundane’s artwork is part of CW+’s Sun and Stars Appeal, which raised more than £150,000 to renovate and update the children’s inpatient award at the hospital. The appeal aims to help create a more welcoming, child-friendly environment to make being in hospital easier for children, parents and carers.