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Swansea nurse incorporated into classic artwork reimagined for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal

A first of its kind exhibition launches later this week, displaying a series of classic artworks depicting the end of life by artists including Edvard Munch and Ary Scheffer, which have been reimagined to feature real life Marie Curie Nurses and Healthcare Assistants. The artworks were commissioned by the UK’s leading end of life charity Marie Curie as part of its Great Daffodil Appeal.  

The nursing team members are depicted in the paintings, alongside the charity’s famous daffodil, providing care and support to the dying and those close to them. The images serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of end of life care, as currently one in four people don’t get the end of life care they need. 

The charity – which provides expert end of life care for people with any illness they are likely to die from – has commissioned British artist Lisa Buchanan, also known as Dangerosa, to create The Daffodil Collection. Buchanan has assisted Damien Hirst, Lakwena and Sir Michael Craig-Martin, and used to work for Marie Curie for several years.

Recent polling by the charity revealed that over a third of Brits (38 per cent)1 agree they do not know what end of life support and services are available in the UK, and 43 per cent of people surveyed do not know that end of life care can be received from home.2

The exhibition features four world-famous paintings including artworks by Nils Dardel and Ary Scheffer. In Munch’s The Dead Mother and the Child a Marie Curie Healthcare Assistant is seen washing someone in bed as a Marie Curie Registered Nurse comforts their daughter, while in Dardel’s The Dying Dandy a Marie Curie Senior Nurse is seen administering an oxygen mask to the patient in his final moments. 

Four real life Marie Curie Nursing team members and a Healthcare Assistant feature in the scenes, including Senior Nurse Janet Wishart-Turner who is part of the Hospice Care at Home service in Grampian, providing care that’s needed for any patients overnight in the community. Also featured is Registered Nurse Zeb Un-Nisa Ali who joined the charity’s Bradford hospice as a student in January 2021. 

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The paintings will be on display to visitors for one day only in a special new exhibition at a Mayfair Gallery at 56 Conduit Street this Thursday (14 March open from 10am-6pm). Following the London exhibition the paintings will be auctioned off. 

The Great Daffodil Appeal is Marie Curie’s biggest fundraising campaign of the year. Held every March, people are encouraged to donate and wear a daffodil pin to help the charity continue to support people with any illness they’re likely to die from.  

Paintings in the collection include;

●      The Dead Mother and the Child by Edvard Munch (1897), featuring Marie Curie Healthcare Assistant Wendy Phillips, (Hospice care at home, Swansea Bay, Wales) caring for the patient in bed and Marie Curie Registered Nurse Zeb Un-Nisa Ali (Marie Curie Hospice, Bradford, England) comforting the child. 

●      By the Death Bed by Edvard Munch (1896), with Marie Curie Senior Nurse Janet Wishart-Turner (Hospice care at home, Grampian, Scotland) providing emotional support to family and friends.   

●      The Death of Gericault by Ary Scheffer (1824), with Marie Curie Registered Nurse Rebecca Jennings (Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast, Northern Ireland) making the patient more comfortable in his final hours 

●      The Dying Dandy by Nils Dardel (1918), Marie Curie Senior Nurse Isaac Otengo (Urgent Hospice care at home, Bromley, England) administering an oxygen mask on the patient  

Maria Novell, chief innovation, income and engagement officer at Marie Curie, said: “The fact that one in four people still don’t get the end of life care they need is a shocking statistic. The purpose of the Daffodil Collection is to highlight the invaluable role Marie Curie Nurses and Healthcare Assistants play providing care, comfort and support in people’s final years, months, weeks and days of life, or when bereaved.

“Reimagining these world-renowned artworks for our Great Daffodil Appeal demonstrates what every donation to the appeal helps fund and how it can make a big difference to people’s lives and those close to them. I’d encourage everyone to support this year’s appeal in any way they can either by donating wearing one of our iconic daffodil pins, heading to visit the exhibition or by holding their own fundraising event. We need the dedicated support from people across the UK to continue our vital work and ensure that whatever the illness, wherever you are, we’re with you to the end.”

Artist Lisa Buchanan said “From previous experience I truly understand that the work done by Marie Curie to support those during such a difficult time of their lives is incredible. When they asked me to bring that work to light within these paintings I jumped at the chance to get involved. Throughout the process I got to know the fantastic nurses who feature in the paintings and learn more about the important work they do on a daily basis, and I can’t wait for people to see their vital work at the exhibition.” 

Wendy Phillips, Marie Curie Healthcare Assistant (Hospice care at home, Swansea Bay, Wales) said: “Many people choose to die in their own homes, and it is often underestimated how hard it can be supporting someone who is dying. People can’t go 24 hours a day, so the support provided by Marie Curie allows families to take a break, and get some rest knowing their loved one is being cared for, just as you can see in the Daffodil Collection. The painting shows the important role Marie Curie plays in end of life care and really highlights how different things would have been if Marie Curie care was available in the past”

Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal takes place throughout March and encourages people to donate and wear a daffodil to help the charity continue to support people with any illness they’re likely to die from. For information and to donate visit: Mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil  

The Daffodil Collection is free to visit at 56 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2YZ, from 10am-6pm this Thursday 14th March.

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