Arts project uses nature to represent recipients of the 'gift of life'

Medway Hospital unveils organ donation artwork

Medway Hospital has unveiled a new artwork dedicated to all those who have become organ donors.

Four floors high, the work covers the wall of the hospital’s main atrium and features more than 120 birds that inhabit the Medway Estuary, each one uniquely cut out in a variety of aged metal finishes.

The huge estuary of the River Medway provides the perfect habitat for thousands of breeding and wintering birds. Of these varieties, eight have been chosen to create this dramatic artwork to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

The various species of birds group and fly together to form a heart shape around the wording the ‘Gift of Life’, before soaring up into the highest parts of the wall, representing freedom and new life.

Natural and artificial light changes throughout the day, lighting up various birds so that their steely feathers glint and shine.

“We have always been strong advocates of organ donation at Medway and wanted to commission a large piece of artwork to celebrate the selflessness of those who have donated organs and the courage of their families, said Dr Paul Hayden, clinical director for critical care and clinical lead for organ donation at Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

“We were fortunate to have the support of the trust's chief executive and chairman to redecorate our large atrium area within the hospital and we worked with Hospital Art Studio following other successful installations elsewhere in the UK.”

Feedback from visitors, patients, and staff has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people commenting on its beauty while mentioning friends and family who have received organ transplants or who have donated organs.

“Hayden said: “We intend to time our official unveiling of the artwork to coincide with National Organ Donation Week in September and the trust is now reconfiguring the atrium area to benefit from a spacious seating area for visitors to enjoy the artwork."

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