What a fantastic experience! This year I have been commissioned to produce photographic artwork for the new Liz Baker Renal Dialysis Unit at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. The work began in March this year whereby I began my initial research. The staff at Morriston Hospital were keen to incorporate a theme of the coast, to give a sense of belonging and identity to the local area. As part of the brief, it was also of importance that the work conveyed a positive atmosphere and welcoming feeling for patients on arrival. The work also needed to create an impact on arrival, offering further interest upon return visits.
After my first meeting with staff, I went to a variety of different beaches in the South Wales area. These included Three Cliffs Bay and Mewslade Bay on The Gower Peninsula coastline. I also visited Ogmore by Sea and Southerndown in the Vale of Glamorgan. Each location was unique in their own way, due to their layout and appearance. Exploring each beach on more than one occasion, allowed time to reflect and engage with the subject at varied stages during the development of the work.
I often spent time observing the surroundings, thinking about how to approach and frame my subject. I am naturally drawn to being close, I am usually physically near my subject when photographing, drawing on connections between lines and textures.
The arrival of the Artworks – An exciting day!
Installation – A wonderful day seeing all the work come together
The space for the artworks at the Renal Unit is throughout the building. These included the out patient reception and waiting area and the in patient reception area. Visiting the site gave an opportunity to understand how the work would sit in context and how best a creative approach could be used. I thought about the layering of imagery onto two separate walls and mirroring opposite images. I experimented with these techniques as the work progressed. Other areas that were later considered were the patient and consultation rooms and an area near pharmacy.
Throughout the commission I was aware of a blue colour scheme to the building. Working with the idea of a painted blue line on the walls presented some challenges, but also paved the way to allow work which was more subtle in nature. I wanted to create a flow and a sense of togetherness of the work in the building, drawing on their relationship and sequence.
The wall coverings are printed onto vinyl paper which can be easily maintained for hygiene reasons. These works are viewed upon entry to both reception areas, giving both patients and staff an impact upon arrival. The other works are printed onto C-type matt photo paper and mounted onto dibond to give the best finish and archival quality. These pieces are displayed throughout the building, which include the out patient reception area, waiting area, patient and consultation rooms, staff rooms and an area located near pharmacy.
My feedback from the commission has been overwhelmingly positive. I am so pleased with the final outcomes of the artworks, they really present a positive atmosphere to the whole building. The wall coverings create that initial impact on arrival to both out and in patient reception areas. Other single or diptych images create time for quiet contemplation and engagement. I hope the work continues to be of interest for all those who use the unit.