Artist Appointed To Brush Up Women And Children’s Unit

Artist, illustrator, printmaker and teacher Natasha Russell has beaten off stiff competition to become artist in residence in the Women and Children’s Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Based in Edinburgh, she was one of 41 artists who applied for the 9-month residency which encouraged those with an affinity with nature to apply.

Natasha was selected after a very competitive shortlisting process and an interview with a panel comprising NHS arts co-ordinators and members of staff from NHS Forth Valley’s Women and Children’s Unit.

Kevin Harrison, Director of Artlink Central who are co-ordinating the project, said: “Through drawing and print Natasha looks for ways to connect with people to respond to different locations and ideas about the natural world. She is particularly interested in collaborating with others in order to understand new subjects and to find ways to invite people into the making progress. She is an amazing artist and we look forward to seeing how this project takes place.”

The art residency follows a creative history in the unit which has already seen stickers of cartoon characters replaced with colourful imagery drawn directly from woodland surrounding the hospital. The new commission will also be based on a number of key words, such as environment, organic and transformation.

Natasha has already made her first site visit and is currently working on developing an engagement plan to research a creative response to the original brief, building on the experiences of staff and patients at the hospital. The project will be carried out in collaboration with art students from Larbert High School and is scheduled to be completed by March 2022, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

NHS Forth Valley’s Director for Women and Children’s services, Gillian Morton, explained: “We are really excited by the scope of this project. We have identified several spaces where we hope to see colour and creativity, including the corridor outside maternity ultrasound, the waiting area next to the labour ward and the waiting area at reception in the Women and Children’s building which is separate from the main hospital.

Featured image: Natasha Russell is pictured with “Murmurations”, a lino cut print she made during her residency with Foundation Scotland.