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Hospital Rooms Exhibition

Written by Zara Mahmood from London Arts and Health.

Tim Shaw is an artist and has worked across the middle east, Europe as well as America and many other countries working on many different projects and with many different artists. He is also a co-founder of Hospital Rooms which he started with his partner Niamh White. After a friend had been section they were shocked to find the place looking lifeless and dull considering it was a place for well-being and healing.

“The exhibition celebrates our most ambitious project to date, spanning across three psychiatric intensive care units (PICU) for men in London. The collaboration between Askew Ward (West London NHS Trust), Bevan Ward (East London NHS Foundation Trust) and Titan Ward (North East London NHS Foundation Trust) saw the creation of 18 site-specific artworks by critically acclaimed artists. This exhibition is the only opportunity that the public will have to encounter the artworks that have been permanently installed in the wards.”

Paul Morrison wall painting 2021 Askew Ward

He really wanted this project to be recognised and change the perception of people’s view of mental health units, by accessing artists with big names who have worked on huge projects and are well known in the field, allows the project to gain recognition and create an impact for change. 

“Hospital Rooms is an artist and mental health charity whose sole focus is working collaboratively and creatively with artists and inpatients in mental health hospitals. We commision exceptional professional artists to lead highly imaginative and adventurous art workshops that result in the creation of major installation-based artworks for mental health wards. Over the past 5 years, we’ve worked with over 100 artists on 19 projects in the most challenging mental health settings including forensic and Psychiatric Intensive Care Units with patients and NHS staff”

Mark Titchner All is in all. All is one. All is ours Wall painting Akew, Bevan, Titian Ward.

The poetry, language and words lead on to one another with shapes. The whole piece is very stimulating and something you may not find in a mother and baby clinic where they have less stimulating colours, tones and shapes.

Tim’s idea was to create a museum, gallery-like feel when walking through the hospital, to give a welcoming feel and to change the way a person feels when entering the hospital so that they would want to spend time there and pay attention, this effect would naturally be created because art is powerful. 

Tim found that many people were embarrassed to visit their family members who had been sectioned and patients felt embarrassed when they would have visitors themselves even a rehab unit was less scary than a PICU  By allowing artists to paint life onto the walls it changed their views and also allowed there to be research done on how colour in an environment can positively impact a person suffering from mental health as art and creativity stimulates the mind. The staff are also a big part of the wards and Tim really wanted to try and get their involvement and input into the work.

Giles Deacon A field in London, 2021, Direct to media print Bevan Ward . Giles Deacon, who has designed Pippa Middleton’s dress and used his artistic techniques to create a wallpaper for the unit with intricate little details. The closer you stand you can see little creatures, plants, mushrooms among other things.

“Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) provide mental health care for people whose acute distress, absconding risk and suicidal or challenging behavior needs a secure environment beyond that which can normally be provided on an open psychiatric ward. Considered to be the most difficult and restrictive inpatient mental health setting, PICUs can be very clinical and sterile places. Through this project, Hospital Rooms aims to bring outstanding art creativity to people in these spaces.”

All the artists co produced the art work in the hospital, they all had a diverse way of seeing which has been portrayed in their artwork, many of the art works portray a sense of struggle, freedom, nature and companionship.

Tim aims to inspire people to do things that forge new ground, change the policy on how we look and treat mental health. He hopes to achieve valuable data to show the value that these projects have on the health system as well as using existing experience of patience, finding things that are stimulating to the environment, talking to them and how they feel being in these environments.

Find out more about Tim’s work on Instagram.

If you are interested in potentially being an artist in residence, and you have a practice rooted in creativity, health and well-being please contact us


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