THE EDINBURGH SKETCHER 1st August – November 2014
The Western General Gallery
Link Corridor between Alexander Donald building and Anne Ferguson Building
Western General Hospital
Crewe Rd South,
LOCAL arts and disability organisation, Artlink, is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by Mark Kirkham – ‘The Edinburgh Sketcher’- documenting his observations as an artist-in-residence at the Royal Victoria Building at the Western General on Ward 72.
The exhibition also shows Mark’s, parent’s perspective of time spent in Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Mark is an illustrator based in Edinburgh who produces an almost daily sketch blog of life in and around Scotland’s beautiful capital; an online sketchbook of scribbles and observations of daily life.
Impressed with his work, Artlink invited Mark in to become an artist-in-residence in the care of the elderly wards documenting situations and stories from patients and staff on the ward.
These observational drawings begin to explore how we communicate different healthcare experiences and contribute to a growing body of work which explores the positive relationship between the arts and healthcare in supporting recovery.
“I would like to thank all the staff and patients for making me feel so welcome during my week on Ward 72. I drifted in and out, sketched from the corners of the room and tried to stay out of the way of the busy staff’. In the patients rooms it was a different experience, I was in their personal space and was welcomed in and given time and an insight into their lives. Through our chats and my drawing we connected and shared our individual stories and discussed what brings people into hospital.” Mark Kirkham
Over many years, Artlink has worked with patients and staff to encourage their involvement in cultural and arts activity throughout NHS Lothian.
We realise that this work not only creates positive involvement, we also know that it supports better communication and contributes positively to recovery. We are delighted with the response to Mark’s drawings so far.
“It was great having Mark on the wards it was a positive experience for staff and patients. The patients were happy to talk about something else other than their illness and other routine matters for a while. Mark through his sketches has captured the person not the patient, you really see a person that is valued and respected and their story.” Kirsten Smith, senior charge nurse
“I really enjoyed meeting Mark he came across as a very intelligent and interesting young man who obviously loves to draw. I liked his drawings and the amount of detail he has put, he’s captured North Berwick beautifully although he’s aged me by one year as i’m 90 not 91 but I am in my 91st year so I will let him off. I’ve showed it to some friends and they really like it too. I ended up being in hospital for three months and it was lovely to chat to Mark about other things and for someone from outside to come in to the ward.” North Berwick patient
“I’m pretty sure we both benefited, I know how long days can be when in hospital and to have a friendly visit, which some of these patients aren’t lucky enough to have daily, it can be a great lift emotionally. Which hopefully leads to a lift physically too.” The Edinburgh Sketcher, Mark Kirkham
The other part of this exhibition features Mark’s observations at the Sick Kids Hospital.
Begins a spokesperson: “In 2011, Mark’s wife gave birth to twins, James and Zoe. James has Haemophilia A and consequently the family have had several visits to Edinburgh’s Sick Children’s Hospital. Whilst there, Mark continued to draw and most of the sketches shown here were made during the time James was in hospital.
“For Mark, drawing was a welcome distraction from all the things he was powerless to help with, and they have become a visual diary of a most terrifying, depressing and uplifting and amazing time in their lives, something that is being replayed many times over in a hospital ward right now.
“We all have different ways in which we document our experiences. Some of us – like Mark – will draw, others write, and many of us will take pictures and now more often than not we will share these on Facebook or Twitter. In essence, the arts are a tool of communication, both in terms of what we can make sense of and what we can’t.
“The arts can give us a new perspective on our experiences and provide new opportunities for understanding. Over many years, Artlink have worked with patients and staff to encourage their involvement in cultural and arts activity throughout NHS Lothian.
“We realise that this work not only creates positive involvement, we also know that it supports better communication and contributes positively to recovery.”
The twins were born on 9th March 2011 at just past 10pm at the Simpsons Memorial ward at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary. James arrived first weighing 4lb 15.5oz with his sister Zoe (5lb 5oz) following close behind.
We discovered James had Haemophilia A thankfully early when on the maternity ward a routine heel prick failed to stop bleeding. A genetic disorder which impairs the body’s ability to control blood clotting, Haemophilia A can cause even minor injuries to result in a severe bleed, either externally or internally. Such a bleed can last much longer and frequently require medication to stop.
Notes to editors:
Artlink is an arts and disability organisation established in 1984. Artlink believes participation in the arts has an important role to play in realising personal and social change. Our aim is to increase opportunities to take part in the arts for those who experience disadvantage or disability in the East of Scotland.
We offer practical support so people can get involved and work with venues to increase opportunities to enjoy the arts.
Artlink establishes partnerships with artists, venues and organisations to help encourage positive change. www.artlinkedinburgh.co.uk
Over the next year Artlink aim is to build on exhibitions such as this one by creating a longer term programme of talks by artists, academics and medical staff; events in collaboration with arts providers in the city; artist placements with specific departments and commissions supporting longer term involvement with particular patient groups.
These partnerships will contribute to add to a growing body of work which explores the positive relationship between the arts and healthcare in supporting recovery.
Notes about the artist: Mark Kirkham
You can see more examples of Mark’s work here: www.edinburghsketcher.com
If you are interested in purchasing copies of any of the prints from the exhibition (from £32), or in commissioning a sketch of your own (prices start from £48) please get in touch.
Vanessa Cameron, Artlink, 13a Spittal Street, Edinburgh www.artlinkedinburgh.co.uk
EH3 9DY, 0131 229 3555 email@example.com
Mark Kirkham is available for interview, please contact Artlink directly, more images are also available of Mark’s work. Artlink Edinburgh & the Lothians is registered in Scotland No.87845 with charitable status. Scottish Charity No.SC006845
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