Waterford Healing Arts Trust announces the installation of a new commission by Marielle MacLeman in University Hospital Waterford entitled Under One Sky. Incorporating pictures of sky submitted by friends of the Department of Psychiatry (DOP), this series of artworks was commissioned for the acute and sub-acute units of the DOP by Waterford Wexford Mental Health Services and the Waterford Healing Arts Trust and was installed in August 2017.
The units were renovated in line with the principles of the national mental health policy, Vision for Change (2006), and as such, the commissioned artwork was developed to evoke ideas of recovery and new beginnings, contributing to a positive environment for service users, staff, and visitors. The brief also identified that service users may benefit from a grounding sense of nature and from artworks that bring outside inside. Referencing the trees of Ireland and seasonal change, Under One Sky is entirely composed of photographic fragments of sky in 43 artworks that include a series of digitally printed murals, modified clocks and a framed print. Installed throughout the DOP, these personalise the clinical environment, using low maintenance materials that comply with Health and Safety and Infection Control standards.
Following guidelines to create imagery with identifiable objects and defined lines, the artist made 50 original ink drawings of 7 species of tree. These were then digitised and their outlines used to create collaged images from photographs of sky taken by the artist and friends of the DOP. The brief welcomed a participatory element and friends of the DOP were invited to submit pictures through an open call. The fragments of sky used were selected with reference to colour advice outlined in the article ‘Environmental and Therapeutic Issues in Psychiatric Hospital Design: Toward Best Practices’ by Karlin and Zeiss (2006), and the artwork predominately follows the ‘warm blues’ recommended.
To ensure an inclusive approach, dramatic sunsets and sunrises submitted through the open call were incorporated as autumnal leaves or blossom blowing along the walls of corridors, communal and treatment areas. In consultation with the commissioning panel, 30 individual artworks were developed for the bed spaces in the sub-acute area, introducing leafy protective canopies or wide-open vistas with a distinct tree theme for each room. This allows wards to be identified by name not number and for personalisation of the clinical space. To minimise disruption to service users in the acute unit, the commission focused on the communal area in this instance.
Waterford Healing Arts Trust and the artist would like to thank all those who contributed images of sky and for helping to enhance the healthcare setting for service users of the DOP during their stay at University Hospital Waterford.
For further information about this commission contact Claire Meaney on 051 842664 or e-mail ClaireA.Meaney@hse.ie