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Art acquisition connects culture to care at Blue Mountains hospitals

15 Feb 2022


Blue Mountains (Katoomba) and Springwood hospitals have recently unveiled the masterful results of a creative collaboration with members of the local Aboriginal community.

A series of seven artworks, commissioned by the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, was created by a group of Aboriginal art students and community members working collaboratively and under the mentorship of celebrated Darug artist Leanne Tobin.

The works were specifically designed to enhance dedicated palliative care spaces at both hospitals, helping to make patients and their families feel more comfortable while also celebrating the stories of local Gundungurra and Darug peoples.

 “It was a beautiful initiative,” says Leanne Tobin. “We were sensitive with the theme as many of us and our families have health issues - so it’s a very poignant thing for us. We wanted it to be meaningful and not tokenistic.”

Dr Elizabeth Harford, General Manager of the two Blue Mountains hospitals, approached Leanne Tobin with a plan to improve the hospital environment for palliative care patients and their loved ones.

“Staff from Blue Mountains and Springwood hospitals are privileged to have these artworks displayed at our facilities,” says Dr Harford.

The artworks, which Tobin describes as honest and raw, include pieces recreated as vinyl decals on windows which reflect colour and light into spaces where people can be nearing end-of-life.

“I assisted some of the artists to apply technical skills to get the effects they were after, but they are all very personal works,” says Leanne Tobin.


Creative collaborators and emerging artists who contributed to the Blue Mountains and Springwood Hospital art initiative.

Through the commission, the collective of emerging artists also contributed to their work for Painting Up Country, a program and exhibition operated by Katoomba TAFE that aims to connect local Aboriginal people with one another and their land.

The collection of works at Blue Mountains and Springwood hospitals were created by artists Beverley Ward, Denise Saunders, Graham Murray, Brian Bell, Ed Walker, Peter Williams, Richard Shillingsworth, Leanne Jones, Pip Smith, Kerrie Miller, Andrew Pyle, Dawn Harris and Chris Tobin.