Art has always played and important part in the history of Homerton Hospital, right from its original opening in 1986.
During the 1980’s and 90’s the Trust had an expert-led Art Works Committee steered by Mr William Shand and later by Dr Dan Tunstall Pedoe. Many of the art works you see today, such as Paula Haughney’s ensemble of limestone sculptures, ‘Our Environment’ (courtyard opposite the Department of Metabolic Medicine) and Kevin Harrison’s, zany WAWASHSH sculpture (T Junction) are early examples of this public art commissioning. Over the years, the collection expanded and now you can find a rare 1949 colour lithograph by Henry Moore entitled, ‘Sculptural Objects’ in the main entrance reception area, two hand coloured comic prints by George Cruikshank, dated 1835, outside the Cardiology Department and works by Joan Miro, Albert Irvin and Fred Pollock to name but a few elsewhere. There is also a collection of vintage Polaroid photographs 1950-75 on loan in the X Ray Department and a group of 1960’s colour lithographs by the American artist, Alexander Calder.
During its long life the Art Works Committee went on to install major art works donated to the Trust by Robert Adams, whose large abstract wall hanging sculpture ‘Folding Movement’ can be seen on the main forecourt side wall, and Kate Malone’s ceramic fountain, ‘Jug and Bowl’ in the hospital’s rear courtyard. There have also been 40 exhibitions of art held in the Education Centre and in almost every department and possible area of the hospital, with some hugely successful collaborations involving the Museum of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Childhood, The British Library, The National Trust Sutton House, Hackney Museum and Tate Britain. However, the Homerton doesn’t just display art works by known artists; it also showcases the works created by long stay patients in the Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit, made by those who use art as part of their on-going healthcare programme, as a tool in communication, and quality leisure time. Patients are referred to art workshop sessions twice a week and the project continues to be a thriving example of invention and creativity.
The Trust has recently received a large number of outstanding original contemporary art works in a donation scheme set up by Art Curator, Shaun Caton and the Finance Department. Hackney and the East End of London has an estimated population of over 12,000 artists and many people contact the Trust each year with a view to donating a painting, print or photograph. The art works are all carefully considered for their artistic merit, originality, and authenticity before becoming accepted as part of the Trust’s collection. In addition to this the Homerton has enjoyed a 26 year long association with Paintings in Hospitals a charity that has lends entire exhibitions and single art works with specific themes and styles for any location within a hospital. It has also celebrated the talents of staff in multiple photography exhibitions and screened a DVD of the Viewfinder Photography Gallery’s top 100 photographs. There is virtually nothing the Homerton won’t try to incorporate into its arts project: sound installation art, conceptual art works, Children’s art, community outreach art, photo-historical displays. You name it we’ve shown it!