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Wheels of Life at Skibbereen Hospital

Residents, staff and guests attended a garden celebration at Skibbereen Community Hospital on Wednesday 20th September to mark the collaborative creative efforts by the residents of the Community Hospital with artist Sharon Dipity.

Sharon along with the residents installed a series of five willow sculptures in the courtyard garden of Skibbereen Community Hospital. The sculptures, made of willow and woven into various circular shapes, represented the wheel of life, an idea conceived by Denis, one of the residents when discussing ideas with the artist. Sharon is part of a team of artists who work in Community Hospitals in West Cork as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, an initiative that has been running since 2008 with partner agencies, Cork County Council, Cork Education & Training Board and West Cork Arts Centre.

The willow was introduced to the residents during one of their weekly art workshops. Sharon describes why she chose this adventurous material, ‘I recognised that willow was a familiar material to the residents, and a natural fibre that was complementary to the garden’. She also noted that, ‘people really enjoyed working with the material, the men in particular as they got to make something quite different with a familiar material. It even engaged people who would ordinarily not get involved in art workshops.’

Installation of the artwork took place on a regular Wednesday afternoon, between short spells of rain, adding a little something special to what would otherwise have been a regular autumnal afternoon.

Paddy Ryan, Director of Nursing, Skibbereen Community Hospital, spoke at the event,

“Today our residents are showcasing the wonderful sculptures that they have made as part of their latest project. When you see the intricate nature of the sculptures and the different personal obstacles our residents have to overcome on a daily basis it brings home the phenomenal strength of the residents and the true value of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme”.  

Special guest on the day, Programme Manager of Arts for Health, Justine Foster from West Cork Arts Centre, congratulated the residents on their achievement and the hospital staff for making such an effort in helping realise and celebrate the artwork.