Image shown: The Things We Miss - painting by Evan

The Things We Miss,  an exhibition of artwork by children who attended St Bernadette’s Paediatric Unit, will be officially opened by Brendan Flynn, on the Arts Corridor, University Hospital Galway on Tuesday 13 November at 4.30pm.  Pam O’Connell facilitated the workshops over the summer months and will also show two paintings inspired by her time working with the children in UHG.  The exhibition will be on display until 10 December. 

Going into hospital is a different experience for everyone, be they child or adult. But one thing that is consistent is that we all miss something that we have left at home or some place and experience that we will not have access to during the hospital stay.

What do you miss when you are in hospital? The answers given by the children provided the material for this exhibition. The exhibition will also include written text by children, an accompanying book and the artist’s own paintings in response to the project.

Pam O’Connell facilitated this project over 14 weeks (1 May – 31 July 2012).  Each Tuesday afternoon Pam spent two hours in St Bernadette’s Unit, in the play room or in the patient’s room facilitating art sessions.  37 children took part in this project. Each child approached the project in their own way. Pam asked them to think about what they missed and to write it down on a piece of paper. Pam was conscious that the question could bring up issues and therefore the flyer honed in on “fun” things that may be missed.

Pam O’Connell’s art practice is influenced by Expressionism and Outsider Art. Pam states: ‘This is why I enjoyed working with the children so much as their art work shares many of the qualities of these Movements.  Observing the children painting I also saw them at play and this enabled creativity to blossom as can be seen from their pieces.’

Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust run the west of Ireland’s leading Arts and Health programme.  Based in Galway University Hospitals, the charity brings live art experiences to the bedside of patients as well as to visitors and staff of the hospital as a means of improving the hospital experience for all. Programme highlights include regular music events at ward level, clown doctors in the children’s ward, Troubadours for Health by the Gombeens for our older patients, memoir writing for long stay patients as well as an extensive programme of classes, exhibitions, poetry, music and theatre events. We also work in partnership with several of the city’s arts organisations and have programmed over 300 events in the past nine years.

In 2012 the programme’s activities will extend to a new project in St. Bernadette’s Children’s Unit for teenagers living with chronic illness. Cloudlands is a project developed by Helium Arts and Health and supported by the Arts Council and the Medtronic Foundation.

For further information regarding the hospital arts programme and the work of Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust contact Margaret Flannery, Arts Director on 091 544979.


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