Neuro-artwork-(1).JPGAs patients, staff and community move through the Acute Services Building (ASB), large-scale artworks found in every department and inpatient unit celebrate the environment and stories of the local area. 

UNSW’s Associate Professor Emma Robertson is one of four leading artists commissioned to produce unique artwork for the hospital’s internal spaces.

Her work is featured on the level 8 Clinical Neurosciences and Acute Stroke floor and reflects the local region’s native flora.

Drawn with acrylic paint, pencils and pens, she created original images of endangered plant species to encourage engagement with ecology and the environment, through a meditative reflection on beauty, loss and memory.

Emma had two years to research, plan and produce her art. She worked closely with nursing and other hospital staff throughout the design process, defining what would visually calm and help the patients, visitors and staff cope in a sometimes-stressful environment.

"Their feedback was very important in refining the images as I was developing them. I submitted interim reports with test drawings, and different staff guided the process at various stages. I was asked not to use strong patterns, abstract images, bright colours or anything that could be interpreted as medical,” she reflected.

Emma admitted she was on a learning curve as the project’s scope was bigger than anything she had done before, but she had great support from the hospital and redevelopment team.

“I felt quite emotional when I arrived at the hospital to see the final installation, and I loved seeing the other artist’s wonderful works on other levels too. It was an honour to contribute, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to bring art and nature onto the walls of the Acute Services Building,” said Emma.

I hope that the patients and their families see the beauty and stillness we can experience in nature reflected in the work on the walls.

The artwork was commissioned by the Randwick Campus Redevelopment as part of its Arts and Culture Strategy. The strategy’s key themes include biophilic design – the concept of bringing the outside environment in, patient and staff wellbeing and supporting clinical models of care from point of arrival to point of departure.