Tatty Devine Commission: Kaleidoscopic Reflections

Kaleidoscopic Reflections, Vital Arts
Kaleidoscopic Reflections, Vital Arts
Kaleidoscopic Reflections, Vital Arts
Kaleidoscopic Reflections, Vital Arts
Kaleidoscopic Reflections, Vital Arts
Kaleidoscopic Reflections, Vital Arts

Kaleidoscopic Reflections is the latest example of nearly 60 site-specific artworks commissioned by Vital Arts in the past 7 years. It is a ward-wide artwork by contemporary jewellery design duo, Tatty Devine. Children find visiting hospital stressful—regardless of how routine or frequent the visit. It is well documented, that the presence of thoughtfully selected and strategically placed artwork can be a critical tool in assisting clinical aims by positively engaging children and distracting them from painful and/or frightening treatment. Vital Arts commissioned Tatty Devine for the Children’s Imaging Department at the Royal London Hospital, seeking to translate the playful qualities of their jewellery into a three-dimensional installation that responds to the specificity of the clinical equipment and architecture. Through art and design they have turned an institutional space into an intriguing and magical environment that improves the hospital experience for young patients undergoing imaging procedures. The project was completed in July 2016 and funded by Barts Charity.

Description of the arts activity

Known for their sculpture-like jewellery made from articulated laser cut acrylic, Tatty Devine brought their bold colours and quirky sense of play to the Children’s Imaging Department at the Royal London Hospital. The installation includes thousands of individual acrylic pieces to create several kaleidoscopic compositions throughout the area, including waiting areas, corridors and critically, in treatment rooms, which can be particularly frightening for children. In approaching Tatty Devine to undertake this commission, Vital Arts was interested in looking outside of the “art world” for practioners not normally making “fine art”, thus inviting experimentation. Tatty Devine’s artwork playfully interacts with the hospital’s large, state-of-the-art imaging equipment with a mesmerising explosion of colourful and reflective shapes that are primarily images of bones, but also include a few surprises too—which create a distraction for children undergoing procedures. Images of the project are available.

Details of the project participants

The target population are the children using the service at the Royal London Hospital, and their parents/carers accompanying them. Patients range from toddlers to teenagers, and separate waiting facilities are provided according to age group. Tatty Devine created distinct age-appropriate designs for each waiting area.

Project management

The project was entirely managed by Vital Arts—from artist selection to installation. Vital Arts currently includes a Director (Catsou Roberts) and an Arts Manger (Neesha Gobin). Vital Arts worked closely with the clinical team running the service from the earliest stages.

Evaluation methods and findings

A press release for the project, sent out in July, attracted interest, resulting in widespread press and social media attention— (examples are available). The project was launched with a public viewing of the artwork on 4 August 2016. The event was attended by approximately 90 people and it was included as a venue on the Whitechapel First Thursdays Art Bus Tour. Vital Arts hopes to undertake an evaluation of patient response and clinical outcomes to this specific project—results of which will be available.

Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England