New Organ Donation Memorial Takes Shape

The first glimpse of his ideas for an organ donation memorial at Forth Valley Royal Hospital have been revealed by sculptor Hans K Clausen, to coincide with National Organ Donation Week (Monday 7th September until Sunday 13th September 2020).

Drawing from a public engagement day in the hospital (pre-pandemic) and conversations with families of donors, transplant recipients, patients awaiting transplant and hospital staff, Hans Clausen has developed an idea of a ‘floating’ translucent artwork. The ‘cloud like’ sculpture will be formed from signatures and hand-written names collected from across the hospital community and from individuals whose lives have been affected by organ donation. These will be cut from brightly coloured laser acrylic.

The artwork, which will be displayed in the atrium of the hospital, will publicly recognise the life changing contribution that local organ donors have made and raise awareness of the value of organ donation to the people of Forth Valley. It will be based on several themes including reflection and contemplation, individuality and inter-connectedness, strength and fragility, gratitude and joy, outward and upward looking, uplifting and life affirming.

Hans explained: “I see the sculpture as an abstract and organic form of memorial. It will not list particular dates or formally document specific individuals, instead it will bring together a community of 365 people, recorded only by their signature or first name. Their placement and connection to each other will be random and unspecified but will represent a person for each day of the year. Signatures and hand-writing like fingerprints symbolise our individuality but signatures also represent the agreements, contracts, commitments and bonds we create with other people.”

The sculptor, who has been working closely with members of NHS Forth Valley’s Organ Donation Committee, highlighted the challenges and inspiration of such an important commission. He said: “To produce an artwork that is both a memorial and a celebration, and that will enhance the hospital environment for years to come is a challenge and a responsibility. I trust the final sculpture will do justice to all the people, stories and experiences that have contributed to its evolution and that it can communicate a narrative and legacy of generosity and hope.”

This year’s Organ Donation Week is designed to get people talking again about donation and its importance, ahead of the planned change in the law in 2021 to introduce an opt-out system. The change means that if people 16 and over have not recorded a decision about donation they will be considered as a possible donor when they die.

Currently more than 145,000 people in Forth Valley have signed the register to become an organ donor. They are part of the 49.6% of the Scottish population who have said yes to donation.

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