Senedd art exhibition celebrates bringing the outdoors inside for palliative care patients
A new exhibition showing at the Senedd will celebrate how artists granted end of life patients’ wishes of bringing the outdoors into a palliative care unit.
The Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit, largely funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and its charity partner National Garden Scheme, offers a warm, caring environment to people with incurable illnesses and their loved ones.
Based at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, near Llantrisant, the eight-bed unit, which opened in 2019, features commissioned artwork overseen by curator Jane Willis of Willis Newson to create a soothing environment.
Now an exhibition to celebrate how the artists worked with palliative care patients, their loved ones and staff is set to be displayed at the Oriel at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. Arts Council of Wales funded the curator’s time to draw the exhibition together.
Displayed to coincide with Dying Matters Week (8 to 14 May 2023), this exhibition – which is sponsored by Counsel General, Mick Antoniw – explores how the artwork was created to foster a calming environment.
The exhibition tells the story of how artists held workshops with palliative care patients, their carers, staff and the local community to create the work and choose their theme – bringing the outdoors in.
Four artists, a photographer, a furniture maker and a poet were appointed to create glazing, screens and feature walls as well as bespoke shelving.
Each room in the unit has a vinyl case of 20 photograph prints of Welsh scenes so patients can choose the picture they would like to display in their room.
The £7.25m unit was funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and the National Garden Scheme with additional funding from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and the Welsh Government.
Macmillan worked with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to build the unit with KKE Architects.
Richard Pugh, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: “This exhibition is a brilliant celebration of how artists worked with palliative care patients, their loved ones and staff to bring the outdoors in at the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit.
“We hope people visiting the Senedd will take the time to stop at the exhibition to find out how the artists wove nature and the outdoors throughout the building.”
George Plumptre, Chief Executive Officer of National Garden Scheme, said: “The National Garden Scheme is proud to have partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support in making the Y Bwthyn NGS Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit possible.
“We were always particularly interested in how the project always prioritised the quality of the unit’s environment for patients, their families and carers and this exhibition is testament to the success and impact of that policy.”
A spokesperson from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: “Working on this project has meant a great deal not only to our palliative care patients and their families, but also our dedicated colleagues in the unit.
“The artwork really has succeeded in creating a uniquely serene atmosphere in the space, and provides a sense of calm for families when it is most needed.”
Sally Lewis, Programme Manager for Arts, Health and Wellbeing at the Arts Council of Wales, said: “This is an inspiring example of how art can transform the look and feel of health care settings, helping make them more welcoming and reassuring for patients, staff and visitors, even at the most difficult of times.
“We are delighted and extremely proud to have played a small role in ensuring that the work achieved by the team behind Y Bwthyn is celebrated and shared through this exhibition.”
The exhibition will be in the Oriel of the Senedd and is open to the public during the Senedd’s opening hours between Tuesday 25 April and Thursday 6 July.
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