Reportage illustrator Emily Thomas creates new artwork for West Middlesex University Hospital

Illustrator and reportage artist Emily Thomas has been working with CW+ as part of her residency at the hospital, where she has produced a collection of illustrations which capture and celebrate the workforce at West Middlesex University Hospital.

Emily’s work revolves around direct observation and discovery, and for this commission, Emily has been drawing staff at work across West Middlesex University Hospital (West Mid) since October 2021, producing a large quantity of drawings which capture the daily workings of the hospital, busy moments, calm moments and many friendly conversations. Emily has built strong connections with hospital staff and her drawings are a touchpoint in time, reflecting the diverse workforce and community spirit of staff.

This project forms part of a wider exhibition we are developing and curating to mark the rich heritage of West Mid as part of the hospital’s 100-year celebration funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The display will become a permanent feature in the hospital’s entrance, and along with Emily’s drawings, will reflect key moments of the hospital’s past, photographs and future plans.

A recent graduate, Emily started working with CW+ and the Trust as a student through the charity’s partnership with University of the West Of England, and has previously been an artist in residence at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, creating a series of artwork to capture the life of volunteers at the hospital which was exhibited as part of a CW+ ‘Arts in Health’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

Reflecting on her recent appointment and drawings at West Mid, Emily says: “I have thoroughly cherished the time I’ve spent at West Mid, and from the moment I began drawing on site every staff member has been so welcoming and friendly. One drawing and conversation at a time, I have been taken on an amazing journey to meet the individuals that keep this hospital running smoothly from day to day. This hospital and the community within it is something really unique and special, and I hope to convey this throughout the work I’ve created and celebrate the incredible team of staff.”

Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director CW+, says: “We are once again thrilled to be working with Emily Thomas and are excited to install her drawings in celebration of our hospital staff as part of our West Mid 100 Years heritage exhibition. By drawing on location, Emily’s drawings capture the life of staff and are a touchpoint in time of this bustling hospital and they will rightly be preserved as a historical resource as part of our new exhibition.”

This commission is the newest in a long line of hospital art and design projects as part of the CW+ award-winning Arts in Health programme, which aims to create a healing environment for patients visiting the Trust’s hospitals.

The West Mid 100 Years heritage exhibition will be unveiled this summer, with Bristol-based exhibition designers Smith and Jones working with CW+ to develop the concepts for the design and capture a snapshot of the fascinating stories, developments, and achievements of this community spirited hospital over the past 100 years.

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