Stroke survivors’ artwork memorialised in hospital exhibition

25 October 2019

Stroke survivors’ artwork memorialised in hospital exhibition
Stroke patients who have taken part in art workshops as part of their rehabilitation at Charing Cross Hospital have been showcasing their work at a new exhibition.

The exhibition, Art: A Powerful Form of Expression, opened on World Stroke Day, 29 October, and featured artwork created by stroke survivors during their rehabilitation at the hospital.

Funded by Imperial Health Charity and run by an art rehabilitation specialist, the workshops aid stroke survivors’ mental rehabilitation by offering a creative outlet for self-expression, especially for those who are unable to articulate themselves verbally.

The creative activity also supports patients’ physical rehabilitation, by enabling them to strengthen their upper body through painting and drawing in a relaxed, low-pressure environment.

Emelie Salford, head of the Art Rehabilitation programme at the Imperial Stroke Centre, said: “Art serves as a helpful tool, stimulus and outlet, reducing stress and encouraging a positive outlook on life. It can also aid dexterity, co-ordination and vision, and boost self-esteem. Art enables patients to express themselves in a freer way … the aim is not to create a masterpiece, it’s about being curious and allowing oneself to explore new ways of communicating.”   

Stroke survivors from the ward have responded positively to the activity, with one patient saying that the workshops have improved their eyesight and another, their overall mood and wellbeing.

A family member of Brian Assiter, whose drawings are on display at the exhibition, said: “Art has been a cathartic healing tool that has enabled Brian to deal with the frustrations that stroke survivors encounter on a day-to-day basis.”

Art: A Powerful Form of Expression is the result of collaboration between Imperial Health Charity, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and The Big Draw. The exhibition is shown on the 9th Floor of Charing Cross Hospital, outside 9 North Ward. The exhibition is open to the public from 9am to 5pm every day until September 2020. To find out more about the exhibition, visit https://thebigdraw.org/event/Art_A_Powerful_Form_of_Expression/9153