A new piece of art has been unveiled at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy which was created by a local artist in tribute to the NHS staff caring for the people of Fife during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the height of the first phase of the pandemic, artist Alan Stephens offered to paint a portrait of healthcare staff to show his appreciation to those working tirelessly to care for patients in Fife.
The COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time and the necessity for social distancing meant that Alan would instead have to rely on photographs to create his work.
Mr Stephens said: “Like many other people, I was watching the news and reading the newspapers, and hearing about the heroic efforts of healthcare workers who were looking after those who had caught COVID-19.
“Your instinct is to do whatever you can to show your support and gratitude in any small way you can for their work in caring for local people. My hope was that by painting a portrait of healthcare staff working on the frontline, it that would go some way to acknowledge their efforts and perhaps leave a lasting legacy for years to come.
“In ordinary circumstances, I would have created the piece with the subjects there in front of me, and using photographs brought it’s own challenges. With the portrait now complete, I hope it goes some way to capturing the resilience and dedication shown by healthcare workers in caring for the people of Fife during this pandemic.”
Following Alan’s very generous offer, NHS Fife staff were invited to submit photos of themselves in their place of work, which Alan then used to create the piece.
One of those to submit a photo was senior immunisation practitioner, Amanda Kowbel, and who is featured within the finished portrait. She said of the finished work:
“I think it’s a great representation of how the pandemic has affected each and every discipline within NHS Fife, and despite the challenges we have kept going.
“For me, I am really proud to be able to represent my own team, and each one of us proudly puts our uniform on each day and gives our very best in whatever way we are needed.
“Our service has changed entirely in the past 12 months but we stepped up and made sure the children and young people in Fife continued to receive the very best care. When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, we went into care homes to vaccinate the most vulnerable in our society.
“I hope that the next generation will look at the painting and see that it shows the professionalism exhibited by the staff during the crisis and want to join us.
The piece was recently handed over to the Fife Art Group, and thanks to a small grant from the Fife Health Charity and the assistance of Engie, it has been mounted and is on display at the Victoria Hospital in time to mark a year since the initial lockdown on 23 March 2021. The artwork is located within the main thoroughfare leading to the hospital’s inpatient wards, in the newest wing of the hospital.
NHS Fife Chief Executive, Carol Potter, said of the gifted artwork:
“We have received quite incredible support and generosity from local people throughout the pandemic, many of whom have gone out of their way to show their appreciation for the tireless work of healthcare staff here in Fife.
“This wonderful piece created by Mr Stephens is another example of that generosity. The finished portrait is incredible, and really captures the very challenging circumstances faced by our staff in caring for the Kingdom’s residents over the last year of so.
“I want to offer our most heartfelt thanks to Mr Stephens for the portrait, which I’m sure will serve as a fitting reminder of the incredible efforts of healthcare staff during the local response to COVID-19.”
To find out more about Alan Stephens’ work, visit: https://www.alanstephens.co.uk