Strength from Within

Winning designs including sculptures, tapestries and paintings submitted by local students are now on display at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, as part of World Aids Day 2013.

To mark the 25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day NHS Forth Valley’s Sexual Health Promotion team invited local schools and colleges to participate in an art competition.

The theme was ‘HIV, Alive and Well.’  Although more people are being diagnosed with HIV every year, those with the virus are now living longer, healthier lives thanks to advances in treatments.

Organisers were looking for artworks which expressed the theme in highly imaginative and relevant ways that can also be uplifting for patients, visitors and staff. These could be in the form of a painting, photograph, video or sculpture.

Many talented students from Forth Valley College entered the competition, and the winners were recently announced at the exhibition opening event at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where the entries will be exhibited in the public art spaces for the next three months.

The winners were:

•    Catrina Ward ‘A Strength from Within’
•    Hayleigh Marie Grant ‘Physical, Innate, Adaptive’
•    Harmony Rose Smith ‘Silent Warfare’

The four runners-up who were recognised for their innovation and use of materials were Jennifer Donnachie, Gillian Barclay, Helen Mitchell and Claire Hall.

NHS Forth Valley’s Chief Executive Jane Grant and Chairman Alex Linkston, thanked participants for their involvement before presenting the winners with vouchers to purchase art supplies.

Dr Kirsty Abu-Rajab – NHS Forth Valley’s Consultant Genitourinary and HIV Medicine Lead Clinician – said:

 I am delighted and inspired by this exhibition and welcome the opportunity to remind the Forth Valley community that HIV is still present. We do still need to encourage individuals to test as we know there is a substantial amount of people who remain undiagnosed and are thus missing out on access to relevant care and treatment. Testing can be done by GP practices or by the Central Sexual Health service in Forth Valley (”

Forth Valley College’s Lecturer in Creative Industries Dorothy Balmer said:

 We were delighted to be given the opportunity to undertake this challenging yet inspirational brief.  I think what comes across is the diversity of concepts that the students have come up with and how personally they have responded to the theme – each piece holds an individual message.”

Charitable Arts and Wellbeing Coordinator Babs McCool added:

 This World Aids Day anniversary exhibition is running throughout December when people will be celebrating as best they can with their loved ones away from hearth and home. We asked students to focus on the more positive aspects of life with HIV and create imagery which could live alongside the hopeful message of the festive season, which was quite a tall order.  The fledgling artists have taken up the challenge with sensitivity and enthusiasm, which will make the exhibition enjoyable as well as enlightening.”