"Just having a break at work now and looking at your picture and all the comments, feeling quite emotional. Your work has 100% inspired me to keep on delivering for my patients. It means so much that artists such as yourselves are doing this. If there’s some good to come out of this, it’s that we will all appreciate the vital roles that many key workers - not just the nurses and doctors - play in our society."
- Dr Ben Oliveira, painted by Graham Cook
Sister Garlock (2020) by Alastair C AdamsPaintings in Hospitals
In Conversation with Alastair C Adams PPRP
Painted portraits can be dismissed as outdated, elitist and egotistical, and all too often not representative of the diverse world we live in today. I guess that’s true, but only of the bad ones.
The strength of the portraits
Lies in the unique marriage of the hearts and minds of the artists participating and those being represented.
Working with thousands of healthcare workers who are not always celebrated in such a way, artists have produced meaningful, engaging portraits that capture a spectrum of emotions and circumstances, not just depicting the uniform but contrasting the personalities and responsibilities within. Truly good portraiture thrives in this context.
The sitter and viewer
The experience of being singled out is flattering, and the dedication of time spent drawing and painting is evident, but perhaps the collective power and success of the project lies in portrait’s power to act as a touchstone, enabling people to empathise and express their thanks.
Both artists and NHS staff have an important value system in common. Thankfully having one’s portrait painted is not a life and death scenario but artists do empathise with the subjects, hopefully impacting their well being and the quality of life of those around them. The Portraits for NHS Heroes project is a chance to turn the tables on those looking out for us and express some care and reassurance back by giving to the best of our ability.