Artist Arnett Powell has had a number of varying experiences in hospital throughout her life and in her new exhibition Safe she reflects on her own desire, what is quite possibly a universally shared desire to feel safe and secure on the day of being discharged.
“I can’t remember my very first experience of being in hospital but from what my Mum tells me it wouldn’t have been a pleasant time as I was born premature. Since then I have had varied experiences of hospitals with my last inpatient experience having the biggest impact.
Safe represents my desire to feel safe when leaving hospital. Hospitals are not just buildings they are the people, the expertise and the environment”.
Arnett realised that people are often reluctant to talk about their time in hospital and how it made them feel but over the years she has had many conversations with a variety of people about the nature of hospitals and what they represent to each individual. Often she has questioned if the hospital is an uncaring institution or a sanctuary for those in need.
“Hospitals are one of those subjects people don’t openly talk about which seems to only strengthen negative feelings. Nearly everyone I have spoken to has expressed feelings of fear and dread when they talk about them and I may have once shared this view but, after a long stay following a serious illness my view changed. I am interested in what people think and feel about them but I also hope to offer an alternative view. They are the place you go to get better. I now have a strange fondness for them and admiration for those who work there. Maybe I became institutionalised or maybe I’m just grateful to hospitals for saving my life”