Breathtaking Art?

Art Walk at St Luke's Centre at Beaumont - © Bernd Biege 2014
Art Walk at St Luke's Centre at Beaumont - © Bernd Biege 2014

This must have been the strangest gallery I’ve ever been in … did they really think the artworks on display would take my breath away? If not, why provide a resuscitation mask every ten metres or so? The answer is simple, it is actually a long (very long) corridor between Beaumont Hospital and the St Luke’s Centre. Which I had to take (after first trying to actually find it) these days, from the parking area to an MRI scan:

Art Walk at St Luke's Centre at Beaumont - © Bernd Biege 2014
Art Walk at St Luke’s Centre at Beaumont – © Bernd Biege 2014

According to the St. Luke’s website, this was the brainchild of cancer patient and artist Sheelagh McShane, who is quoted as saying:

When I first walked through the corridor I felt like the walls were crying out for colour and for art. It is so beautifully lit it looked like a gallery space or a blank canvas.

Right she is, the overall effect is very gallery-like (ignore those resuscitation masks and the slight, ever-present “hospital smell”, if you will). And I can imagine that the corridor before the conversion into the “Art Walk” must have been, if not depressing, than at least extremely uninspiring. Imagining being stuck there longer than necessary because one is not even as fleet (*ahem*) of foot as I am … not really desirable.

But now? On the way back to the car I actually took time to take the artwork in. Not everything, but those pieces that caught my eye. So the way back, usually perceived as being faster, took objectively longer. Despite Ikea’s canteen beckoning …

Is it fine art, art that will challenge you, art that breaks boundaries, or simple folksy art? Yes, no, all of this. I saw some unusual materials, paintings very closely related to postcard views, others showing more non-traditional visual styles. Nothing too radical, they don’t want to scare people off. Especially patients on the mend – as the corridor will also serve as an additional exercise area for recuperating patients, they can have aa long and safe walk here as part of their recovery plan.

The Art Walk, maybe Dublin’s most unusual gallery, was opened by local artist Guggi (once a member of the Virgin Prunes and part of the ever-expanding Bono-verse). Who seemed to have found the right approach (if maybe not quite the right tone .. but hey, he’s a Dub):

Art is a form of therapy, no doubt about it. Looking at pieces of art and creating pieces of art is like a tonic. Painting has been therapeutic for me; it has saved my ass on more than one occasion and I think this will bolster the spirits of people receiving treatment.

Why just one image, and no artwork? Because you can find the art in the catalogue provided by St. Luke’s on the website linked above. And yes, you can buy it too … 20% of the proceeds go to St. Luke’s.

And if you are in the vicinity (Beaumont Hospital is near the airport, signposted off the M50 near the entrance of the Port Tunnel), why not drop in? There is more to discover here, too …

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