Art Transplanted at the Brompton

Captured in the film ‘A Love Worth Giving’ and shortly after Sam passed away, I began working on my largest piece to date. There is a location halfway up a bridleway towards Moundsmere Manor, in Preston Candover, where Sam and I lived. Sam grew up seeing this very vista when walking the family dog. The spot from which you can overlook farmland and beautiful Hampshire countryside was known to family as ‘second gateway’.  I wanted to immortilise this view from this location, where some of Sam’s ashes were subsequently scattered and a cherry-blossom tree planted in memorium, in oils. After several months of painting from the depths of my soul, I created “Second Gateway”.

LukeAYates

At five by four feet in size, it occupied most of my living room. I held onto it as long as I could, exhibited it as part of the Art Transplant exhibition at Magdalen College, and hanging it in my house, but I couldn’t keep it. The last time Sam saw this view, she was too unwell to climb the hill to get to it. At the time Sam was on oxygen 24/7 and needed a wheelchair to get around. So I pushed her to the second gateway. We sat and ‘breathed in’ the view. I felt that the peace it gave Sam could give peace to other cystic fibrosis sufferers. In November 2014, “Second Gateway” was donated to the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK. It was specifically gifted to Foulis Ward, where Sam received excellent care and where she sadly lost her fight with Cystic Fibrosis. The painting now belongs to Royal Brompton and Harefield Arts and is part of their collection and has the Keatsian quote “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” from Ode to a Grecian Urn (one of Sam’s favourite Keats’ poems) beside it.

My hope is that during the stress and trauma of hospital admissions, patients and families may be able to escape, if only for a short while, whilst peering into this painting. I hope that it brings them just as much peace as it did Sam.

Celebrabis Vitae

Last year, Live Life Give Life, a charity that Art Transplant supports and I am a trustee of, ran ‘the Day of the Living’ – a new campaign to raise awareness of organ donation, remembering those who donated, and celebrating those who are only living because of donations.

Taking inspiration from the colourful Mexican festival The Day of the Dead, in which ancestors are remembered with a vibrant and colourful festival; The Day of the Living raises awareness about the importance of organ donation with in the same vein.

As part of that campaign, we were able to participate in Celebrabis Vitae, Skull-art exhibition at Box studios in Shoreditch, London, which features skull-based/themed artwork. This was to to go hand-in-hand with sugar skull face painting (as is done in The Day of the Dead festival). There were some excellent pieces from many artists and it was a priviledge to be able to have work surrounded by such talent.

Metamorphosis_1

Metamorphosis (20 inches x 22 inches)

My contribution was a mixed media piece using gouache on paper, stainless steel pins and canvas. I created hand-cut and painted butterflies and moths and pinned them to a mount, as collectors would had done with real specimens, into the shape of a skull. The title of the piece was metamorphosis, as in my mind this embodied and described the transformation of life and death when donating your organs.

 

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