Friday, 14 October 2016

Closing event 2016

Karin Andrews Jashapara
(Photo: Lesley Cartwright)
Thank you to all who came to the Art of Caring closing event last night. There was an illuminating talk from Karin Andrews Jashapara as well as the screening of two films about AOC by Anna Bowman.

The first reveals the origins of the AOC exhibition as well as the excitement of the Private View at St Pancras Hospital. The second,Falling, documents the performance work of Charlotte CHW.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Review - Art of Caring at St Pancras Hospital

Review by London City Nights (19/09/2016)

You feel a weird combination of reassurance and worry walking through the doors of an NHS clinic. The staff are busy yet friendly, the walls are festooned with upbeat primary coloured posters and there's a pleasantly paternalistic atmosphere. This is a place designed to make you well, doing its level best to send you out the door in better shape than you walked in.

But then you notice the damp on the walls, the peeling paint and furniture that hasn't been replaced in 20 years. The NHS is suffering the death of a thousand cuts: the victim of a government ideologically opposed to a free at the point of use publicly owned health service. Jeremy Hunt assures us that they're merely 'modernising' the NHS when anyone with a glimmer of sense can see that he's setting it up to fail, its carcass fodder for the circling corporate vultures of the American healthcare industry. I mean, if it's not making investors any money, what's the point of it?

So it's wonderful to see an exhibition like The Art of Caring - a collection of work from nurses, patients and artists depicting their ideas on the theme of caring, specifically nursing. The exhibition is collaboration between Kingston University, The Arts Project and Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust, featuring work that ranges from photography, painting, performance and sculpture. Some of it is professional and polished, some is rough and passionate, but all displays a tenderness and empathy that perfectly suits the surroundings.
(Fractured Memories) Doll Therapy by Aran Illingworth

There's a lot to take in here, but I particularly enjoyed the following. (Fractured Memories) Doll Therapy by Aran Illingworth. It's a quietly devastating canvas piece about Alzheimers, capturing a painful morsel of misery in the eyes of someone whose memory is gradually eroding away. The arts n crafts textile look adds to the emotional wallop, not only looking like something a kindly grandmother might make, but the rough shapes and soft fabric underlining the subjects humanity and increasingly blurry edges.
Comfort and Joy - Susie Mendelsson
On a slightly different wavelength is Susie Mendelsson's Comfort and Joy, a bizarre mixed-media sculpture of a creepily wizened homunculus approaching a baby from behind while a tiny man stares on in horror. It's disturbing stuff, the soft manufactured plastic of the doll contrasting with the hand-carved chaos of the monster. That title has got to be a joke, because there's precious little comfort or joy in this. If I had to pick out a meaning, it seems to speak of a mother's trauma at losing a baby, then feeling guilt that the next one survives. Even as she cares for her healthy baby, she cannot help but imagine the forgotten one, balefully staring on in jealousy.
One Day at a Time - Susie Mendelsson
Also by Mendelsson is One Day at a Time, depicting a worried looking person weighed down by faceless little men. This is a little easier to parse, but no less effective. Here the effect of the paranoias, traumas and miseries of the past is literalised, showing them crawling all over an apparently normal person going about their day to day life. It looks suitably nightmarish, the haunted expression of the central figure conveying a palpable desperation.
Charlotte CHW

Sunday's event was capped off by a live performance from Charlotte CHW, who was also exhibiting photographs. Dressed in a suit that perfectly matched the brickwork of the building, she writhed about against the walls and on the floor accompanied by a soundtrack of breaking glass. Watching this it's difficult not to look up at the gently spooky Victorian brickwork and wonder just how long this hospital is going to last. Generations of Londoners have walked through these halls, each with their own individual ailments and stories to tell.

The performance understands this history, treating the building like a psychological sponge that's sucked up a century of trauma and needs to be squeezed dry.  Charlotte's movements are slow, painful and precise - it's like you can see dust crumbling from her joints as she repeatedly collapses and rises, trapped in some infinite loop of pain, healing and more pain. I dug it.

Anyhow, The Art of Caring is well worth checking out, demonstrating not only the public's affection for the NHS and its nurses, but just how critical its long-term support systems are. Whether you've sprained your ankle, suffered trauma in Blair's oil wars or are watching an elderly relative succumb to dementia, the NHS will always be there. But it also needs us to fight for it.

Art is Caring is at The Conference Centre, St Pancras Hospital, 4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 OPE (9am-5pm) until 13 October 2016.

The Exhibition finishes with a Closing Event on the 13th October 2016, 5.30-7.30pm.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

St Pancras Hospital exhibition for Art of Caring

Last week the Art of Caring exhibition returned to the gallery walls for the public to view and enjoy. A large section of the artwork that graced the Rose Theatre gallery in May 2016 moved to its new venue in St Pancras Hospital for an extended run until October 2016.

Karin Andrews Jashapara
The exhibition has a different flavour entirely from the one we saw in May. Peter Herbert has overseen the curation of the exhibition alongside his assistants Elaine Harper-Gay and Jane. He has created an exciting and bright new show that utilises 30 original works as well as many of the original postcards, these have been grouped together thematically to great effect. He hasn't included every work from the original show, so check the contributors list below.

The address if you would like to visit is, THE CONFERENCE CENTRE, ST PANCRAS HOSPITAL, 4 ST PANCRAS WAY, LONDON, NW1 OPE. It is open Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm (TRAVEL/BUS 46/214 TUBE/KINGS CROSS). Free Entry.

The exhibition finishes on Thursday 13th October 2016 with another inventive party. We'll post more details here in due course.

Welcoming guests to the opening event, Caroline Harris-Birtles, C&I’s Deputy Director of Nursing, said: “At Camden and Islington we are very keen to continue our strong support for art generally, but also specifically use this event as inspiration to attract further creativity from our own staff and service users.”

Left to right -
Professor Karen Norman, Peter Herbert and Caroline Harris-Birtles
Karen Norman, Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University and St Georges, part of London University, said the exhibition provided a showcase for what nurses did, but also to share some of their additional hidden talents and celebrate all that was good about the nursing profession.

The opening evening also featured singers and music from Key Changes, a charity that provides music engagement and recovery services in hospitals and the community for people experiencing mental health problems.

Artists exhibiting at the St Pancras Exhibition include -

Adesuwa D Igbinedion Nigie
Alan Carlyon Smith
Alban Low
Alexandra Billingham
Alice Auton
Alicia Bolich
Alison Clare Barrett
Amandeep Kaur Dahele
Amelia Bradley
Amy Bowers
Amy Mack
Andie Rose
Andrew Bolton
Ann Charlesworth
Ann Froggatt
Ann Kopka
Anne Guest
Anny Rice
Aran Illingworth
Aurelia Edmiston
Becky Fawcett
Beth Dodd
Biju Abraham
Bravika Chautan
Bryan Benge
Branko Jovanović
C. Carey
Camilla Afren
Carmel Blackie
Carne Griffiths
Carole Scott
Carolyne Kardia
Chantelle Benjamin
Charlie Osbourn
Charlotte CHW
Claire Leboutet
Crisna Maugi
Cristina Prudente
Dan Waters
Daniel Tejada
Daniella Scantori
David Evans
David Napier
Dean Reddick
Diana Trinca
Ed Arantus
Ekta Shah
Ella Penn
Ellen Haskins
Elliot Inglese
Emma Sackett
Emelia Adjei-Nyamekeh
Emily Davis
Emily Latham
Eskild Beck
Esperanza Tielbaard
Fatima Iqbal
Francine Neal
Friba Sarajzada
Gemma Pumford
George Keal
Georgia Clark
Harvey Wells
Hayley Walke
Helen Carter
Imogen Perkin
Interlany Cabral Phillips
Ire Bademosi
Izzy Prentice
Jackie Bennett
Jacqueline Talbot
Jelena Jovančov
Jenny Meehan
Jessica Adrianna Wayar 
Jill Mercer
Jo Peters
Josef Van den Bergh
Jovana Mitić
Jude Gill
Judith Parry
Julie Edwards
Kajal Shah
Karen Fay
Karin Andrews Jashapara
Kate Ward
Kayliegh Daly
Kisha Rai Limbu
Lauren Clark
Lesley Cartwright
Lisa Lecky
Ljiljana Stevanović
Louise Agyepong
Maisha Mapimhidze
Marchelle Boateng
Margret Emakpose
Mark Carr
Mary-Jane Todd
Matthew Woodward
Melanie Ezra
Michael Bolstridge
Mike Russell
Nargis Begum
Natalie Low
Natalie Snow
Nataliya Zozulya
Nikita Gwung
Nikki Yun
Olubukunola Temidava
Opal Moore
Patience Chejerai
Paula Cannon
Peter S Smith
Peter Turton
R. Bokino
Rachel Donnet
Ray Hobbs
Rebecca Dayalsingh
The Rev’d. Robin Pfaff
Rochell Walker-Collins
Ross Anderson
Ross Godwin
Roz Cran
Rumen Deshev
Sally Ward
Sharon Read
Smith Sinwar
Susie Mendelsson
Stacy Harris
Stella Tripp
Stephanie Selena Powell
Streka Canapi
Susan Farley
Syeda Udelin
Tamara Jelaca
Teresa Hunt
Theresa Nash
Tracy Boness
Tracy Ferriss
Tracey Adjedion
Trudi Levis
Tzedal Tesfamariam
Wayne Sleeth
Will Weatherburn
Yvette Douglas

Saturday, 14 May 2016

International Nurses Day 2016

Last Thursday, 12th May, we celebrated International Nurses Day 2016 in our own heartfelt way. This is the second year of the Art of Caring and it was even bigger and better than last year's exhibition. This year we exhibited 330 postcard sized artworks and poems from over 180 artists who sent us their work from around the world.

Eskild Beck and Alban Low
The launch party saw several artists come from far flung places including Eskild Beck from Denmark and CollectConnect favourite Melanie Ezra from Swansea. It was a glorious early summer's day in Kingston-upon-Thames and the streets outside teemed with a suburban buzz. Inside, the refreshments flowed feely and it was not only a good opportunity to delve deeper into our thought provoking selection but also to meet old and new friends alike. Photographer Bill Mudge was in attendance and you can see his full portfolio of photos HERE.

Thanks to everyone who came and exhibited their work, we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you to all at Kingston University and St Georges, University of London who have supported us both financially and with their time and expertise, especially Dr Julia Gale, Karen Norman, Paul Newcombe and Carmel Blackie. Also the hanging committee of Paul Newcombe, Nikki Yun and Bryan Benge who got all 330 postcards on the Rose Theatre walls.

The exhibition is open until the 24th May 2016 in the upper circle bar/foyer gallery at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames, so go and see it.

Don't forget our main event on the 23rd May 2016 in the main auditorium that includes poetry, performance and insights into the Nursing profession. If you don't know what to expect then watch last year's performance here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Launch Party - Join Us

Celebrate International Nurses Day with us on the 12th May 2016 at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1 1HL. We are exhibiting the work of over 180 authors and artists in the fabulous   Art of Caring exhibition. The Launch Party is from 4-6pm and features more than 330 poetic and artistic postcards from all over the world, and we welcome everyone who would like to join us on this special day.

The Art of Caring is an inclusive exhibition that showcases a diverse range of talents, giving us an insight to the world of Caring and Care. Resilience is our special theme this year and is inspired by the International Council of Nurses worldwide celebration for 2016: Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving health systems' resilience.

The exhibition will be open from the 12th - 24th May 2016,  10am-6pm daily on the Upper Gallery floors at the Rose Theatre. There are refreshment available downstairs in The Rose Café.



Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Submissions closed Art of Caring 2016

Thank you to everyone who entered the Art of Caring this year. We've has a fantastic response full of talented artwork and generosity of spirit. More details will be appearing here in the next few days but I'm happy to announce we have 184 artists exhibiting 329 artworks and poems with us this year.

Praying with Mrs. Cooper
by The Rev. Robin Pfaff
This year's crop include 3 artworks from The Rev. Robin Pfaff, he told us about his motivation to get involved, "As a hospital chaplain I often meet people at a time of intense change, but these encounters usually show me something of the indomitable human spirit. Healthcare professionals, however, who are regularly exposed to highly traumatic situations need to find their own way of coping and build up a resilience that is both sturdy as well as tender. Talking about what we do and see can be extremely difficult, as we all have a tendency to avoid emotional pain."



Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Empowering Melanie Ezra

Art of Caring 2016 - Melanie Ezra
The first entries have started to arrive at the Art Of Caring this year. We would like to shine our modest spotlight on some of the artists who dedicate their time to art and make our exhibitions such a success.

Melanie Ezra (left) and Rose Davies (right)
We've exhibited the work of Melanie Ezra since our magnet Rarities exhibition along the Hastings and St Leonards' seafront in 2011. She is not only a regular contributor but also supports a network of international artists who use her as a conduit to the UK art scene. Ezra continues to be the poster girl for the Swansea art world, her photography based work is often spliced and cut using her trusty scalpel but inside you can still find the beauty of the Gower Peninsula. Last year she published a map, Swansea: On the Map: An Artist's Walk with Rose Davies that continues to this day to be a bestseller for publishers Sampson Low Ltd.

Unfortunately last year Melanie Ezra wasn't able to submit her work to the Art Of Caring so we are very pleased to welcome her into the fold in 2016. Ezra's Art of Caring artworks are based on photographs taken during her mindful photography workshops. The workshops explore self-improvement and empowerment through the use of the camera. They are often delivered through community organisations to aid people who have suffered life-changing events. She works with blind charities, drugs agencies, and other community and hospital based groups. Ezra's participants have shown great resilience in overcoming their problems and her workshops often inspire them to learn other new skills and tackle other obstacles in their lives from a new position of strength.

From left to right: Céline Pellerin,
Esperanza Tielbaard, Melanie Ezra in Manhattan, 2014
 (Photograph: Esperanza Tielbaard)
I and others from CollectConnect have written before about Melanie Ezra and her personal resilience in the Art world. No distance is too great to traverse so that she can meet and help fellow artists, or share her artwork with the public. It has been truly inspiring to watch her work spread throughout the world and to feel the glow from her growing reputation.

If you would like to submit your artwork to the Art Of Caring this year then visit the Submit page of this website.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Art of Caring Submissions Open 2016

Now more than ever we have to celebrate and support the nurses and carers who make such a difference to our lives. Please join the Art of Caring exhibition this year by submitting your artwork on the theme of Caring or Care. It is Free to enter and very straight forward to get involved. Just send up to 3 jpeg images in an A6 size to

Rumen Deshev at the
Art of Caring 2015
You'll receive a confirmation email within 7 days with your catalogue/exhibition numbers. Before the exhibition we will print 2 postcards of each of your artworks. One copy will be sent to you and the other will be exhibited in the Upper Circle Gallery, The Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames, UK from the 12th to 24th May 2016.

2015 presentation
Like last year we'll be opening the exhibition with a private view on International Nurses Day, Thursday 12th May 2016. So please put it in your diary and come along.
If you would like to see some of last year's submissions and exhibition then have a look in this album of photos - 2015 Art of Caring Images.

This year we've been asked to exhibit a selection of the work at the Arts Project exhibition space in St Pancras Hospital from July - October 2016.
For the full details about how to submit your work visit our SUBMIT page.
Deadline for submissions is Thursday 31st March 2016.
(We may close early if all 250 exhibition spaces are filled)

Alban Low, Bryan Benge, Dean Reddick and Stuart Simler