Shanika Grimes has found a way to give back of her talents and her time by painting a mural outside of the children’s ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). “I started my company Artist Made that does mural décor and I wanted to do a project that was a sponsored project and that would help to build knowledge about my company,” said Grimes.
“So I thought about all the projects that would benefit from a project like this and of course the QEH came to mind.” The mural that adorns the walls outside of Ward C7 depicts an underwater seascape with a variety of fish, turtles, and even a shipwreck. “I went to Dr [Clyde] Cave and we collaborated on the designs and what was appropriate for the space and he thought ‘underwater because it’s really relaxing and the children would like the fishes and sea creatures’,” Grimes said.
“My business partner Christopher Brancker, [who] worked with me on this project, did a lot of graphic design work.” Over the three weeks of painting, Grimes received several positive comments from parents, patients and the medical staff who watched the transformation of the wall to a vibrant underwater scene. “The walls were just one solid very simple colour and people sit in these hallways for hours on end to get feedback on their loved ones,” she said. “So I thought this was so impactful and people really appreciated it. Even though they say Barbadian people really don’t have a taste for art, they really like it.”
The artist initially wanted to do the project last year but had to go through several meetings and presentations at the hospital before clearance was given. “I respect what they have to do here in terms of procedure because not everybody can come into the space,” Grimes said. “Then they went through how the paint smells would affect the children. Harris Paints donated acrylic-base low-odour paint so it doesn’t cause any health concerns.”
While Grimes wanted to effect change on the children’s ward with her work, she admits that the experience at the QEH impacted her as well. “I really appreciated how healthy my son is. Sometimes I’d be here and I’d just hear the crying for hours from children who are sick. It was hard for me emotionally, because you don’t understand what they’re going through and why they’re crying,” she said.
“Initially I was going to make the scenery a lot simpler but then that made me even more dedicated to the project because I know that it would really be appreciated. “I’m so glad I did this because the parents have something nice to look at while they’re sitting there waiting . . . . I really feel blessed to be able to do this.” (AP)