The Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Homerton University Hospital is a ward for patients with acquired and traumatic brain injuries. As part of their on-going multidisciplinary rehabilitation patients are offered art twice a week in the Creative Media Room – a purpose designed studio complete with easels, paints, palettes and brushes. The room is festooned with vibrant patient’s paintings and drawings produced and accumulated over many years. The RNRU maintains a fascinating and unique archive of patient’s art works in all media that goes back over 20 years and is available for study.
The RNRU art workshop encourages long stay patients to express themselves through the empowering diverse media and practice of visual art. Patients are assisted with the creation of their works in collaborative projects that help to focus concentration, improve sociability, develop hand and eye coordination, manual dexterity, and provide a quality experience. The results are prolific and many patients enjoy the workshop’s ambient but busy atmosphere of quiet experimentation and interactive play. The service is augmented by visiting artists from Hackney, who frequently give of their time and expertise to enable patients to benefit from their skills and experience. Hackney is abundant with artists and has an estimate of over 12,000 in the Borough, making it one of the richest cultural districts of the UK for the visual arts. Many patient’s art works are displayed and exhibited in prestigious exhibitions (such as Irwin Mitchell, London 2013 and Hackney Museum 2014) to promote their creative potential and raise awareness of the power of creativity and its capacity to help with recovery from brain injury.
‘I never thought I would ever be able to hold a brush, let alone paint a painting. Now there is no stopping me. I love the art room and coming in to explore new ideas and try different things each week. It’s been a great space to have and I value the time I have spent making art. It’s been a whole new chapter in my life.’ – RNRU patient.
‘Making these old post cards into new ones has been a journey for me. The group has made hundreds and now we are having an exhibition of them. I never realised I could do something as enjoyable as this.’ – RNRU patient.
‘After I woke up from a coma I was told that I may never see clearly again. It is amazing that I can now see bright colours and that’s why I love coming to the art group so much, to share my love of colour with the other members of the group. Art has given me hope, it really has.’ – RNRU patient.