‘Whenever You’re Ready’, a brand-new exhibition by CW+ Photographer in Residence, Ejatu Shaw, has opened at West Middlesex University Hospital. Ejatu, a London based multi-disciplinary artist, has created a series of staff portraits that capture and celebrate the workforce at the hospital site. Working closely alongside CW+, Ejatu has drawn on her personal practice of self-portraiture to foster a sense of control and ease among the West Mid hospital community.
For this project, Ejatu turned to analogue practices to encourage a slow, steady and contemplative process. Her simple, unobtrusive set-up (a 35mm film camera, a small tripod, and an air release to allow for self-portraits) has encouraged staff to take their time preparing for a photograph that they were completely in control of. The air release cable is visible in each frame, a recurring motif that links the subjects, reflecting their interconnecting roles at West Mid.
The photographs, which feature staff and volunteers from across the hospital, capture the sense of family at West Mid. They have formed part of the wider Heritage Exhibition celebrating the hospital’s centenary, which was developed and curated by CW+ and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This display, along with Ejatu’s photographs, now features in the main Atrium space of the hospital.
In attendance at the opening of the exhibition was Rob Hodgkiss, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, along with staff and volunteers from the Trust and CW+ who were involved in the project. Speaking at the launch, Ejatu said: ‘It’s been a pleasure to work on this project and to meet so many staff and volunteers at West Mid from a wide variety of departments. I’ve enjoyed hearing about their journeys and careers, and I hope this exhibition captures their daily lives at the hospital and is a lasting memory of the sense of family and resilience they all share.’
This exhibition is the newest in a long line of hospital art and design projects as part of the award-winning CW+ Arts in Health programme, which aims to create a healing environment for patients visiting the Trust’s hospitals.
Click through the images below to see the staff portraits captured during Ejatu’s residency.