The Arts for Health and Wellbeing Team were proud to commission GUNK Illustration to produce Wonder, a double A0 sized illustrated mural, printed on board, to celebrate the diversity of staff and patients within the NHS.
The artist, by his own description – a queer and trans illustrator, was delighted to be given this special opportunity to create a piece of art for Cardiff Royal Infirmary during Pride 2021.
The location of the work, close to the Department of Sexual Health, is also significant, as this service is among some of the most caring and knowledgeable (in the artist’s opinion) when it comes to LGBTQ+ and non-binary people receiving medical care.
On speaking about the work, the artist said: “The composition of the work is based on historical star charts and nautical maps. Often what we see on the walls of hospitals are maps of the grounds or informative posters. With this work my aim was to create a version of that where the viewer is encouraged to navigate parts of themselves and/or parts of the community they live in.
“At the centre is a heart with cascading veins or road markings. Two heavenly figures are positioned around the heart. The figures are made up of different bodies, gender expressions and personal styles, highlighting the diversity of the LGBTQ+ and non-binary communities. They are androgynous and somewhat ethereal, representing the fluidity of gender and sexuality.
“Amongst other minor details which draw attention to everyday items in our lives and in Welsh culture, are spotlighted details taking us through some significant moments of progression within medical care in Wales for LGBTQ+ and non-binary people. These are the introduction of PrEP in 2017, the opening of The Welsh Gender Service in 2019, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Public Health Wales being named as top 100 employers in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and new rules coming into effect in 2021 which allow more LGBTQ+ people to donate blood who were previously unable to.”
Wonder is synonymous with fascination and amazement. This work celebrates human diversity as something beautiful rather than something to fear. To wonder is also to question and I think allowing for exploration of oneself and curiosity about others is the best way to educate ourselves and make positive changes within our communities. The overall piece ultimately highlights the importance of inclusivity and human connection, by simultaneously exploring the vastness of the world and the little things that join us all together.
Keithley Wilkinson, Equality Manager for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “I am proud to see Cardiff and Vale University Health Board recognising the importance of art in highlighting their commitment to providing the best possible care and support for members of our LGBTQ+ and non-binary communities.”
To find out more about the work of Cardiff and Vale Arts for Health and Wellbeing Programme please visit: http://www.cardiffandvale.art